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Can you be taken seriously if….
Posted: 12 January 2007 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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You were called out by your own peers?  You are blinded by your passion for this subject of the end of all faith, even to the point that your comrades can't even speak apologetically about your work.  If you cannot even convince your own peers to believe you, then how do you expect the people on the fringe of both belief and unbelief to switch to "your" side?  Isn't that your #1 purpose anyway?  Please, "reason" with me here. 

 

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone that believes….

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Posted: 13 January 2007 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”]Please, “reason” with me here.

Exactly how do you “reason” with someone who so easily accepts the unreasonable? Like Melvin Konner, you should read Sam’s work before attempting to criticize it. Konner doesn’t grasp that Sam and Dawkins are arguing against irrational beliefs in general and religion just happens to be the most prominent example.

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“Rational arguments do not work on religious people, otherwise there would be no religious people.”—Dr. House

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Posted: 13 January 2007 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“camanintx”][quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”]Please, “reason” with me here.

Exactly how do you “reason” with someone who so easily accepts the unreasonable? Like Melvin Konner, you should read Sam’s work before attempting to criticize it. Konner doesn’t grasp that Sam and Dawkins are arguing against irrational beliefs in general and religion just happens to be the most prominent example.

That would be incorrect.  He is aruging that they are taking the wrong angle at attacking the belief in God.  And even as a man of no faith whatsoever, he cannot endorse such a blatant attack on people of faith.  While you certainly can make the case that Harris’ views, while wrong, cannot be judged by the opinion of one peer, he does make a good point that the malevolence towards the belief in God is not the correct way to pursue his cause.

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Posted: 13 January 2007 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”]
He is aruging that they are taking the wrong angle at attacking the belief in God.  And even as a man of no faith whatsoever, he cannot endorse such a blatant attack on people of faith.

Sam Harris never calls for anything but intellectual honesty.  Nowhere does he call for an attack on people, which is your inference.  He’s only calling for a criticism of the irrationality behind faith - an attack on ideas.  Which is always fair play - yes!  even with religion!  :shock:  What you’re feeling is the power of pure logic “attacking” your own misguided “reasoning.” 

[quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”] While you certainly can make the case that Harris’ views, while wrong, cannot be judged by the opinion of one peer….

Mr. Harris lists many facts about religion, which happen to have scary implications, and concludes that we should worry about this.  It’s funny, but I don’t see this as his “view” in the sense that it’s based in scientific inquiry.  However, I do see holding an occult skygod as your master to be one very irrational “view.”

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Posted: 13 January 2007 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“HappyHeathen”]
Mr. Harris lists many facts about religion, which happen to have scary implications, and concludes that we should worry about this.  It’s funny, but I don’t see this as his “view” in the sense that it’s based in scientific inquiry.  However, I do see holding an occult skygod as your master to be one very irrational “view.”

 

It seems to me that the first thing is to separate “religion” (which can manifest in many forms and at many levels of understanding) from the general human propensity for blind belief.  That is the real problem IMHO. 

An excellent book on this is Doris Lessing, Prisons We Chose to Live Inside.

For a very interesting take, including a classification of levels of “religion” see Muhammad al Ghazali, The Niche for Lights (Ghazali died in 1111 so his in many ways very modern presentation has particular interest).

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Posted: 13 January 2007 04:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”][quote author=“HappyHeathen”]
Mr. Harris lists many facts about religion, which happen to have scary implications, and concludes that we should worry about this.  It’s funny, but I don’t see this as his “view” in the sense that it’s based in scientific inquiry.  However, I do see holding an occult skygod as your master to be one very irrational “view.”

 

It seems to me that the first thing is to separate “religion” (which can manifest in many forms and at many levels of understanding) from the general human propensity for blind belief.  That is the real problem IMHO.

I appreciate the reading tip, although it may have to wait awhile (at least until I finish school!)  The concept of separating religion from the human propensity for blind belief sounds like an interesting one.  In other words, you’re saying that blind belief rides other vehicles besides religion.  Right now, the only thing that comes to mind is ignorance.  For instance, the idea that the president must be correct because he is the president - we simply must have “faith” in him.  While this isn’t religion per se, I wonder how far away it really is?

Would love it if you could expound even just a little, Burt.

Thanks.

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Posted: 13 January 2007 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”]Please, “reason” with me here.

Your blind faith won’t see the light of reason.  Atheists need only a candle to see the weakness of religious faith.

Offended that your faith is challenged is hardly a way to encourage a reasonable discussion.  How would you like it if I ran into your church during Sunday services with a bullhorn declaring the pastor a fake and the congregants spineless sheep?

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Posted: 13 January 2007 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I’m also very interested in what Burt has said just now, and hope to hear more. While waiting, I’ll just insert one word: IDEOLOGY.

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Posted: 13 January 2007 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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[quote author=“HappyHeathen”][quote author=“burt”][quote author=“HappyHeathen”]
Mr. Harris lists many facts about religion, which happen to have scary implications, and concludes that we should worry about this.  It’s funny, but I don’t see this as his “view” in the sense that it’s based in scientific inquiry.  However, I do see holding an occult skygod as your master to be one very irrational “view.”

 

It seems to me that the first thing is to separate “religion” (which can manifest in many forms and at many levels of understanding) from the general human propensity for blind belief.  That is the real problem IMHO.

I appreciate the reading tip, although it may have to wait awhile (at least until I finish school!)  The concept of separating religion from the human propensity for blind belief sounds like an interesting one.  In other words, you’re saying that blind belief rides other vehicles besides religion.  Right now, the only thing that comes to mind is ignorance.  For instance, the idea that the president must be correct because he is the president - we simply must have “faith” in him.  While this isn’t religion per se, I wonder how far away it really is?

Would love it if you could expound even just a little, Burt.

Thanks.

That was why I recommended the Lessing book.  It is very short (about 100 pages, can be read in an hour).  But basically, people will fall into blind belief at the drop of a hat.  Rational thought and the “suspension of judgment” that is the mark of the true skeptic are things that have to be learned, and that learning is often difficult.  If you do a web search on the term “cognitive illusions” you will get more than you ever wanted to know on how people fall into errors of judgment just because of the way that the mind is structured to process information. 

As for vehicles that blind belief can attach to, aside from religious doctrine (which, in its original intention, is simply prescribed as a way for followers of the religion to achieve particular states of consciousness which, if the religion is a legitimate one, will have beneficial personal and social consequences) there are things like philosophical doctrines, political ideologies, beliefs on racial or ethnic superiority, etc., etc., etc.  The fundamental equation is that ignorance results in fear which is hidden by adopting a belief and defending it with an intensity proportional to the underlying fear.  The defense could be physical violence, or rhetorical attack, name calling, or whatever.  Whenever somebody gets really strident about something, check first to identify the underlying fear and the ignorance behind it.  (And of course, the same with our own strongly defended beliefs.)  That’s why I don’t make a distinction of kind between religious dogmatists and militant atheists.  The belief is attacked and the responder attacks back.  :D

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Posted: 13 January 2007 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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It is just plain pleasant to meet Sam Harris in person.
I have listened to his lectures in Amherts, NY, Oct 2006, CFI conference.
Also spoke a few words with him.

Intellectual honesty - I call for too.

I accept the sad truth, there is no difference between the faith
set in Posseidon or YAHWEH.

While living in Nigeria, after passing through Israel, I lost the last shreds of
a faith in Judaism.

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Posted: 13 January 2007 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“conefor4200”]It is just plain pleasant to meet Sam Harris in person.
I have listened to his lectures in Amherts, NY, Oct 2006, CFI conference.
Also spoke a few words with him.

Intellectual honesty - I call for too.

I accept the sad truth, there is no difference between the faith
set in Posseidon or YAHWEH.

While living in Nigeria, after passing through Israel, I lost the last shreds of
a faith in Judaism.

Hi Conefor.  I would love to have an audience with Mr. Harris!  I very much respect his ability to stay cool under pressure.

Welcome, and nice to hear from you.  Funny, I grew up in a Jewish family, and was even bar-mitzvahed.  It all meant very little to me. 

And Burt, thanks for the last post.  I enjoyed reading it. :D

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Posted: 14 January 2007 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“nothingbutthebloodofjesus”]And even as a man of no faith whatsoever, he cannot endorse such a blatant attack on people of faith.

Why is it that when one has a intellectual disagreement with people of faith, when one rejects the faith those people have, it is seen as an attack on those people, rather than on their ideas?

When two academics go to battle over authorship of a text from the middle ages, or when two planetary scientists argue about where all the water went on Mars, they are usually able to stay on friendly terms.  The battle is one of ideas.

If one were to claim that all of Catholic dogma is either false, meaningless, or without justification, and that it would be better if every Catholic stopped believing it tomorrow, would this claim be an attack on Catholicism, or an attack on Catholics?

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Posted: 14 January 2007 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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dthuleen,

An attack on Faith is an attack on the person. Academics have ideas. We can attack their ideas. The Faithful have no ideas, so we are attacking their personal faith.

The easiest way to determine if an idea is false is to measure how strongly it resists examination.

The academic says “Please challenge my ideas”. The faithful say “How Dare You?”

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Posted: 14 January 2007 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]dthuleen,

An attack on Faith is an attack on the person. Academics have ideas. We can attack their ideas. The Faithful have no ideas, so we are attacking their personal faith.

The easiest way to determine if an idea is false is to measure how strongly it resists examination.

The academic says “Please challenge my ideas”. The faithful say “How Dare You?”

Joad, you’re very quotable. The above middle paragraph is particularly pithy.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 14 January 2007 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”][quote author=“Joad”]dthuleen,

An attack on Faith is an attack on the person. Academics have ideas. We can attack their ideas. The Faithful have no ideas, so we are attacking their personal faith.

The easiest way to determine if an idea is false is to measure how strongly it resists examination.

The academic says “Please challenge my ideas”. The faithful say “How Dare You?”

Joad, you’re very quotable. The above middle paragraph is particularly pithy.

Yes, a nice quote.  The only thing I would change is the word faith to belief.  In my view, there is a major difference between faith and belief—a person with faith doesn’t need to defend it, a person who only has a belief will, as pointed out, take any questioning of the belief as a personal attack.

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Posted: 14 January 2007 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]Yes, a nice quote.  The only thing I would change is the word faith to belief.  In my view, there is a major difference between faith and belief—a person with faith doesn’t need to defend it, a person who only has a belief will, as pointed out, take any questioning of the belief as a personal attack.

I would have to disagree with you on this one Burt. I think Joad got it right the first time. I’ve always made the following differentiation between faith and belief.

Belief is knowledge based on reason. I don’t know that the sun will rise tomorrow but I believe it will because it has for the last 15 million years.

Faith is knowledge that defies reason. Though the NHL Ducks have had several bad seasons, I have faith that this season will be their year.

Beliefs are easier to give up when faced with conflicting evidence while faith resists all change.

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