Intelligence & Religiosity

 
 
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cpl
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12 October 2006 06:34
 

The rational perspective is simply more complex than the mythic perspective of the religious…

That’s quite a statement, but I think you might have it backwards.  It seems to me that “the mythic perspective of the religious” is necessarily more complex than rationalism because it constantly has to explain how an ever-increasing cascade of facts don’t really change its tenets without violating its earlier explanations.

To put it another way: Keeping the lid on requires a great deal more complexity and energy than accepting things as they are.  There’s nothing in all of science to match the complexity of the Talmud, and Hawking’s work doesn’t come close to the mental gymnastic ability required to delve into the Catholic concept of limbo.

Is the statement

It is simply harder mentally to be rational…

based upon something rational, say a scientific study of brain activity?  That data would be really interesting to see.

My sense is that what you’re driving at is sidetracked by the way that you’re expressing it. 

Let me know if I’m putting words in your mouth here, but you seem to be writing about what’s sometimes called “thinking outside the box.”  What you seem to be claiming is that religious people don’t, and rational people do.  The difference is not that religious people can’t think out of their box, it’s that they don’t.

If I understand your point correctly then the issue is one of creativity, of using one’s ability to “think different” for more than the choice of the world’s best computing system. wink

 
 
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Traces Elk
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12 October 2006 06:37
 

[quote author=“cpl”]To put it another way: Keeping the lid on requires a great deal more complexity and energy than accepting things as they are.  There’s nothing in all of science to match the complexity of the Talmud, and Hawking’s work doesn’t come close to the mental gymnastic ability required to delve into the Catholic concept of limbo.

If I understand your point correctly then the issue is one of creativity, of using one’s ability to “think different” for more than the choice of the world’s best computing system. wink

Keeping the lid on requires pressure exerted from above.

The difference is not one of complexity, but of a decision not simply to make things up as one goes along. If you make things up, you can make them up to be as complicated as you wish. If your theory has to respond to facts, some of that freedom is abandoned. If you do not understand the difference between revision of doctrine and revision of theory, we are talking at cross purposes.

[quote author=“cpl”]“the mythic perspective of the religious” is necessarily more complex than rationalism because it constantly has to explain how an ever-increasing cascade of facts don’t really change its tenets without violating its earlier explanations.

‘Nuff said.

[ Edited: 12 October 2006 06:44 by ]
 
 
 
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cpl
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12 October 2006 06:43
 

Keeping the lid on requires pressure exerted from above.

That, or a strong sealing mechanism.

Open the pod bay door, HAL.

 
 
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Traces Elk
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12 October 2006 06:46
 

[quote author=“cpl”]That, or a strong sealing mechanism.

Your misunderstanding of basic mechanics is exceeded only by your dedicated disarticulation of logic. But what you say is true. If you don’t blow your top, you can still blow it out your a$$.

By the way, cpl, congratulations for finally figuring out how to register. Now I can take some of my dissing of your nonsense offline to the PM channel.

 
 
 
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cpl
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12 October 2006 07:00
 

Now I can take some of my dissing of your nonsense offline to the PM channel.

LOL!

 
Jeremy Roush
 
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Jeremy Roush
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12 October 2006 07:16
 

History demonstrates the progression of human understanding, and every individual human progresses through the same stages of awareness.

There are still groups of hunter-gatherers who see a different god behind every natural attribute. There are still groups of people who believe a god made the world in a day.

There are still children that think mom disappears from the universe when she is out of sight, and is made happy when she suddenly re-appears.

All levels of perception are available to you for study. However, being able to perceive and understand those levels requires rational thinking.

Mythic thinking requires less mental effort because it does not require, or expect, new discovery. The various “bibles” aren’t updated with new information. Everything true is already prepared, packaged, and preached for and to you. EZ!

“Keeping the lid on” requires no new mental effort. After all, the lid is already on! Nothing can get in, or out. The tools to keep the lid on are part of the lid itself (Fear being Tool Number One).

Rational thinking requires constant self-evaluation and outward observation. Rational thinking requires a lack fear of being wrong or misguided. Rational thinking requires thinking! Go figure. smile

 
 
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cpl
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12 October 2006 08:21
 

“Keeping the lid on” requires no new mental effort. After all, the lid is already on! Nothing can get in, or out.

This would seem to deny everything we know about child development, no-one enters this world with the lid “already on.”  If our theories of child development are correct, then systems of thought are learned.  Unless your proposal is that, left to their own devices and without any guidance, children would naturally arrive at the scientific method and rationalism, someone has done that teaching, put that lid on or built The Wall, to use Pink Floyd’s metaphor.  Once a person has learned a system of thought, any system of thought, the system requires maintenance lest it start to break down.  Maintenance comes in the form of figures who exist to monitor adherence to systemic orthodoxy, whether it’s the religious minister, the party leader, the philospher or “peer review.”

Rational thinking requires constant self-evaluation and outward observation. Rational thinking requires a lack fear of being wrong or misguided.

(shrug) Constant self-evaluation and willingness to acknowledge error is a hallmark of systems which enforce othodoxy, from those used during the Cultural Revolution in China to Ben Franklin’s daily examination, not to mention religious confessionals and correction by one’s peers.  There’s nothing specific to rational thought about them.

It seems I had your view wrong, that you really do propose that there is something inherently more intellectually vigorous about raionalists than religionists.  That assertion runs counter to my experience, so I’ll just disagree and leave it at that.

 
 
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SkepticX
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12 October 2006 12:41
 

[quote author=“frankr”]This thread confuses me.

 
I suspect it’s a desire to think ill of atheists that actually confuses you, because this thread and the ideas you claim to be confused by aren’t very tough to figure out, so either you’re rather less than terribly bright, or something other than what you claim is going on.

[quote author=“frankr”]Please explain to this dumb proud Christian (I know that must sound redundant) I need some insight from the people who know that they are really smart and at the same time know that they are really humble.


Intelligence is the ability to learn, and humility is the lack of an exaggerated sense of self importance. These are two very different things. One can know for a fact one is highly intelligent (we have tests that can reveal such things), and also recognize that there’s a lot more to being smart (functional intelligence, more related to wisdom, the ability to effectively use knowledge) than merely intelligence. For example, my first response to learning my IQ score was concern over the fact that the average is 100, not a sense of superiority. I recognize and accept the limitations of IQ (basically the fact that a high IQ doesn’t guarantee smarts), but the fact remains that we depend upon the capacity to learn in order to understand and effectively deal with each other and the world around us.

The fact that you allege you have difficulty with this simple issue says everything about you and religion and how the desire to believe something can effect your intelligence regarding whatever that may be. This really isn’t a very tough concept, so as I said before, either you’re rather less than terribly bright, or something other than what you claim is going on.  It’s clear to me you’re more than smart enough to figure out what you claim is so confusing here, but your pattern of posting behavior here also suggests very strongly that you’d like to believe atheists are irrational and believers’ worldviews entirely sound.

It’s not real tough to figure out what’s really going on with your alleged confusion, Frank.

Byron

 
 
 
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nv
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12 October 2006 13:30
 

Jeremy Roush:

The ability to hold and consider multiple conflicting perspectives in your thoughts is the skill that allows someone to make informed decisions about what is likely to be true. This is a function of mental capacity, or intelligence.

Yes.

J.R.:

In my original post I never used the word “smart” or called anyone “dumb.”


No, but you did name the topic of this thread.

Byron:

Intelligence is the ability to learn. . . .

Intelligence equates to processing power. If it were the ability to learn, then 4-year-olds would be running the world. (Sorry, just clarifying a detail.)

I would also add to standard definitions of intelligence, An ability to discern and integrate significance.

 
 
 
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frankr
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12 October 2006 13:52
 

[quote author=“SkepticX”][quote author=“frankr”]This thread confuses me.

 
I suspect it’s a desire to think ill of atheists that actually confuses you, because this thread and the ideas you claim to be confused by aren’t very tough to figure out, so either you’re rather less than terribly bright, or something other than what you claim is going on.

[quote author=“frankr”]Please explain to this dumb proud Christian (I know that must sound redundant) I need some insight from the people who know that they are really smart and at the same time know that they are really humble.


Intelligence is the ability to learn, and humility is the lack of an exaggerated sense of self importance. These are two very different things. One can know for a fact one is highly intelligent (we have tests that can reveal such things), and also recognize that there’s a lot more to being smart (functional intelligence, more related to wisdom, the ability to effectively use knowledge) than merely intelligence. For example, my first response to learning my IQ score was concern over the fact that the average is 100, not a sense of superiority. I recognize and accept the limitations of IQ (basically the fact that a high IQ doesn’t guarantee smarts), but the fact remains that we depend upon the capacity to learn in order to understand and effectively deal with each other and the world around us.

The fact that you allege you have difficulty with this simple issue says everything about you and religion and how the desire to believe something can effect your intelligence regarding whatever that may be. This really isn’t a very tough concept, so as I said before, either you’re rather less than terribly bright, or something other than what you claim is going on.  It’s clear to me you’re more than smart enough to figure out what you claim is so confusing here, but your pattern of posting behavior here also suggests very strongly that you’d like to believe atheists are irrational and believers’ worldviews entirely sound.

It’s not real tough to figure out what’s really going on with your alleged confusion, Frank.

Byron

I was joking Byron. I think jokes like one’s humility are lost when explained. It was an attempt at low brow humor. It was not directed to those with high intelligence quotients. It was more for the unwashed masses, think Mercutio.

 
 
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SkepticX
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12 October 2006 14:12
 

[quote author=“frankr”]I was joking Byron.


:oops:

Er . . . uh . . . never mind.

Byron

 
 
Ted Shepherd
 
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Ted Shepherd
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12 October 2006 15:42
 

Jeremy started this thread with these words:

Just finished the letter; thank you very much Sam Harris. I was surprised, however, that he didn’t mention intelligence once.

Here for your consideration is my speculation on Sam’s thinking. Sam omitted the word intelligence intentionally, not accidentally. He is aware that many atheists have told many believers that atheists are smarter than believers—better educated and better equipped with native intelligence. The atheists’ message on this matter may be explicit in so many words or implicit in a condescending attitude. Regardless of whether the claimed edge in intelligence is real, asserting it is not usually well received by the believers. It is simply poor salesmanship to say to someone “If you weren’t such a dunce, you’d agree with me”—again, regardless of the duncity (dunceness? duncehood?) of the victim, er, target, er, listener. That sort of frontal assault—belittling the other’s guys intelligence—will naturally produce resentment, hostility, and stubborn resistance.  It was sensible and pragmatic of Sam to defer the subject of intelligence for another time.

 
Jeremy Roush
 
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Jeremy Roush
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12 October 2006 15:56
 

[quote author=“Ted Shepherd”] Here for your consideration is my speculation on Sam’s thinking:

I find your speculation agreeable, and likely to be the case.

Is this forum a place for consideration of intelligence and its role in religious thinking? Or does the immediate polarization of even the title of this thread make it harder to get, um, rational discourse underway?

 
Jeremy Roush
 
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Jeremy Roush
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12 October 2006 16:08
 

[quote author=“cpl”]It seems I had your view wrong, that you really do propose that there is something inherently more intellectually vigorous about raionalists than religionists.  That assertion runs counter to my experience, so I’ll just disagree and leave it at that.

If your experience was the rule, religious cultures would have emerged from rational cultures, not the opposite as history clearly records.

Again, you can see this ongoing perceptual development all around you, though perhaps you have to be rational thinker to perceive it, regardless of mental acuity. If valid perspectives cease for you at mythic, its unlikely you’ll recognize rational perception in its more subtle forms.

Though your posting here is proof you partake of the poison fruits of intellectually vigorous rational thinking. :D

 
 
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unsmoked
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12 October 2006 19:03
 

[quote author=“Billy Shears”][quote author=“TheChampion”][quote author=“Billy Shears”]I pointed out that hares do not chew a cud. This is a false statement. It is an error, period.

Billy my boy, think again. Do not be so easily decieved.  Hares perform a function named cecotropy. Cecotropy is the process by which rabbits will reingest part of their feces directly from the rectum. Yes….that word was “reingest.” Tain’t God smart.

The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient, in gentleness correcting those who oppose him: perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the devil’s snare, having been taken captive by him to his will.
2 Tim 2:24-26

This process may serve a similar purpose, but it’s still fundamentally different in many respects, and rabbits and hares do not chew a “cud” which ruminants such as cows regurgitate from their stomachs to chew again.  This is why rabbits and hares are not classified as ruminants.

But I give you some credit for a much better attempt at rebuttal than my oponent in the other debate made.

Cud = Quid

Splitting hares, ‘cud’ has a second meaning, which is ‘quid’.  A quid is a cut or wad of something chewable.  If Champ is correct about ‘cecotropy’, maybe we should give him this one.  The hare is chewing a wad of something which most people would consider unclean.  Maybe reingesting its own feces helps hares survive during winter, or other hard times - and evolution favored those who did so.  Sparrows find things to eat in horse dung - undigested seeds, etc. and vegetable material passing through a hare for the first time, probably has similar nutrients still in it - a rabbit ‘pellet’ could be called a cud, or a quid.