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Tyrsmann
15th April 10, 07:06 AM
If Dawkins wasn't a professor would people take him so seriously?

I'll admit I've yet to read the God Delusion but from what a few Humanist friends tell me it isn't anything particularly original. Mainly just vitrol and arguments against religion. I've taken a gander at the selfish gene, very interesting stuff.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
15th April 10, 07:09 AM
I really liked the selfish gene.

Memes what a brillaint idea!!!

Cullion
15th April 10, 07:26 AM
No, most people wouldn't take him so seriously.

inventory
15th April 10, 08:12 AM
People take Christopher Hitchens seriously when he speaks, and he's a columnist for vanity fair... because of what he says, not his job.



I'll admit I've yet to read the God Delusion but from what a few Humanist friends tell me it isn't anything particularly original. Mainly just vitrol and arguments against religion.

It's about why and how religion sucks, that's all that's in the book. And the reason he dedicated a whole book to the issue is that religion is, and has been for a long time, one of the most destructive forces in the world. No, that's not an original thought. It's not intended to be an original book. It's intended to bring light to the masses.

mrblackmagic
15th April 10, 08:15 AM
He's got an accent. Somebody somewhere will listen to him.

Madgrenade
15th April 10, 08:24 AM
If I wasn't a making crappy one paragraph O.Ps would people take me more seriously?

I'll admit I've yet to read the God Delusion but from what a few Humanist friends tell me it isn't anything particularly original. Mainly just vitrol and arguments against religion. I've taken a gander at the selfish gene, very interesting stuff.

:deadhorse:
Fixed

KO'd N DOA
15th April 10, 09:13 AM
Still waiting for the Pope vs Dawkins cage match...

Cullion
15th April 10, 09:16 AM
People take Christopher Hitchens seriously when he speaks, and he's a columnist for vanity fair... because of what he says, not his job.

Christopher Hitchens is a professional social commentator and political polemicist. Some people take him seriously.



It's about why and how religion sucks, that's all that's in the book. And the reason he dedicated a whole book to the issue is that religion is, and has been for a long time, one of the most destructive forces in the world. No, that's not an original thought. It's not intended to be an original book. It's intended to bring light to the masses.

Dawkins has his own irrational religion and his arguments are full of absurd factual holes and rants.

Madgrenade
15th April 10, 09:42 AM
Still waiting for the Pope vs Dawkins cage match...

I think the Pope would fuck Dawkins up in a cage match. 'Specially if it was no holds barred fight to the death. He's got that look in his eye, like the one a bad muthafucker has right before he bites your nose off. Don't mess with the Pope.

Also, can weapons be allowed? I just have a vision of the Pope snarling manaically while whirring an incese burner around his head like a morningstar, and knocking Dawkins block off with it.

But what would Dawkins use to defend himself?

Cullion
15th April 10, 09:48 AM
He'd hide behind his wife, the former Dr. Who assistant.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
15th April 10, 09:49 AM
But what would Dawkins use to defend himself?

Ontology!!!

elipson
15th April 10, 10:40 AM
But what would Dawkins use to defend himself?
Science.

There are any number of ironic ways in which the pope could be killed with science. Perhaps crushed to death with dinosaur bones.

UpaLumpa
15th April 10, 10:49 AM
So you're looking to dismiss a long career based on one book?
I don't really care about the God Delusion but there is a lot of worthwhile material in Dawkins body of work.

Cullion
15th April 10, 10:52 AM
So you're looking to dismiss a long career based on one book?
I don't really care about the God Delusion but there is a lot of worthwhile material in Dawkins body of work.

I don't think anybody questioned his scientific career. It's the way in which he goes about being an Atheist missionary, which is a largely seperate field. He goes way beyond using his biological expertise to point out flaws in creationist arguments into trying to explain historical events through his lens of militant secular humanism , and that's where he sometimes comes out retarded.

HappyOldGuy
15th April 10, 10:52 AM
Everything Dawkins says about religion is retarded polemic. He has never had an original thought on the topic.

And Voltaire was wittier.

Commodore Pipes
15th April 10, 01:12 PM
I really liked the selfish gene.

Memes what a brillaint idea!!!

I've always wondered how much of the 'meme' idea was his, and how much was borrowed from the Greeks and applied to evolution. Part of that is because I am not sure what a 'meme,' as defined by Dawkins, is. As best I can tell it's an idea that propagates because of social/survival/procreative value. And THAT idea is sort of the foundation of human knowledge, language and art. But I haven't read the cat, so my comments are bullshit, and I probably shouldn't even have typed them. But I am the youngest child of old parents, and therefore have an insatiable apetite for attention, and I want to know more about this guy. Is The Selfish Gene the one to do it?

Aphid Jones
15th April 10, 02:59 PM
There's a reason that meme theory hasn't made it into the mainstream: it's a model that can only be taken so far. Schema are better for understanding human behavior. Why? You can find a DNA molecule for genes. You can't find a regular unit for memes unless you classify them as any piece of knowledge which is where Dawkins' religion= destructive mind virus hypothesis falls apart.

Ajamil
15th April 10, 03:21 PM
The Greatest Show on Earth was a good book. I like Dawkins a lot better when he talks on things he likes, rather than things he dislikes. Mean and sarcastic writing in books grates on me.

It's fine on the internet, though.

Cullion
15th April 10, 03:29 PM
Dawkins' main problem is that since he married the actress who played Romana in Dr. Who his geek prestige has been such that it's warped his perceptions. He's been walking around feeling like he's an infallible super-intelligent alien since 1992.

bob
15th April 10, 03:37 PM
I've read two of his earlier books on evolution but nothing he's written for a long time. But that's mainly because I just don't find the debate in general very interesting.

elipson
15th April 10, 08:30 PM
I liked the G.D. but Cullion is right about him being an arrogant turd. While I agree and liked many of the arguments he makes in G.D. he is such an asshole about it that I would have trouble identifying myself as believing the same things about religion that he does. South Park had a good episode with him.

Keith
15th April 10, 10:32 PM
Dawkins has his own irrational religion

What religion would that be?

Madgrenade
16th April 10, 03:54 AM
^^^ Imrightianism. It's very voque.

Cullion
16th April 10, 04:15 AM
What religion would that be?

I call it the church of the invisible machine god.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
16th April 10, 06:05 AM
I've always wondered how much of the 'meme' idea was his, and how much was borrowed from the Greeks and applied to evolution. Part of that is because I am not sure what a 'meme,' as defined by Dawkins, is. As best I can tell it's an idea that propagates because of social/survival/procreative value. And THAT idea is sort of the foundation of human knowledge, language and art. But I haven't read the cat, so my comments are bullshit, and I probably shouldn't even have typed them. But I am the youngest child of old parents, and therefore have an insatiable apetite for attention, and I want to know more about this guy. Is The Selfish Gene the one to do it?

Yep the selfish gene is the one with the memes. Think the idea had been bandied about by previous biologists before but Dawkins pretty much gives the definitive explaination.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
16th April 10, 06:06 AM
There's a reason that meme theory hasn't made it into the mainstream: it's a model that can only be taken so far. Schema are better for understanding human behavior. Why? You can find a DNA molecule for genes. You can't find a regular unit for memes unless you classify them as any piece of knowledge which is where Dawkins' religion= destructive mind virus hypothesis falls apart.

Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!! Memes are big business have a look at viral marketing and viral videos on the internet.

Cullion
16th April 10, 06:26 AM
I think memes are implicit to, although not explicitly stated in, Pierre Teilhard 's concept of the Noosphere.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
16th April 10, 08:49 AM
Mmm hadnt thought of that before but yeah I can see that. Although isnt Teilhard far more Platonic?

Cullion
16th April 10, 11:16 AM
Teilhard saw evolution as being directed or drawn towards what he called an 'Omega point', rather than simply being a case of 'blind' adaptation.

I think the basic idea of evolutionary selection being increasingly active in the sphere of ideas and technologies rather than bodies being common to them both.
Memes are essentially thought organisms, the Noosphere is their environment, which could be akin to Plato's world of forms.

HappyOldGuy
16th April 10, 12:09 PM
I find the notion of using evolutionary concepts to think about how ideas and information spread very appealing for thought experiments.

But it's not science yet, and I don't think it will be any time soon.

Cullion
16th April 10, 12:26 PM
It can be studied using statistical methods for very simple ideas, that's the kind of thing people thinking deeply about marketing do.

UpaLumpa
16th April 10, 04:04 PM
The Greatest Show on Earth was a good book. I like Dawkins a lot better when he talks on things he likes, rather than things he dislikes. Mean and sarcastic writing in books grates on me.

I've heard good things about that one.

I'm reading a Ken Miller book right now and he does a fantastic job making certain argument, in part because he treats the counter arguments as (initially) worth arguing against.

Keith
16th April 10, 07:31 PM
I call it the church of the invisible machine god.
elaborate please

Cullion
17th April 10, 02:56 AM
The unprovable idea that the universe is a vast machine which is entirely described by, and never deviates from, mathematical laws. This is the metaphysical idea most people are pledging their faith in when they say they are 'rationalists'. And make no mistake, it is an act of faith.

Dawkins' brand of atheism is a metaphysical belief system.

Historically speaking, it's widespread and militant adoption is often soon followed by the guillotines getting to work.

HappyOldGuy
17th April 10, 12:14 PM
Historically speaking, it's widespread and militant adoption is often soon followed by the guillotines getting to work.

That's not fair.

Sometimes it's camps.

Craigypooh
17th April 10, 03:02 PM
The unprovable idea that the universe is a vast machine which is entirely described by, and never deviates from, mathematical laws. This is the metaphysical idea most people are pledging their faith in when they say they are 'rationalists'. And make no mistake, it is an act of faith.

Dawkins' brand of atheism is a metaphysical belief system.

Do you have references and quotes to back this up?

Cullion
17th April 10, 03:12 PM
It's implicit in what he believes. He believes that physical laws are absolute and hold everywhere at all times. That's an unprovable proposition, but it's one that's likely to be true based on repeatable observations to date.

Dawkins and people like him don't understand that repeatable empiricism doesn't constitute a strict logical proof of the 'immutable mathematical law' concept of the universe. People who say it isn't true anger him pretty much to the same extent that other zealous religious believers get angered when you dispute their beliefs.

In many psychological regards Dawkin's position is religious in nature.

Craigypooh
17th April 10, 03:22 PM
Thought so.

Cullion
17th April 10, 03:30 PM
Obviously, Dawkins would never acknowledge his views as religious or faith based.

You were expecting a quote where he did ? What would you expect a reference to?

HappyOldGuy
17th April 10, 03:39 PM
In many psychological regards Dawkin's position is religious in nature.
It's more specific than that. His behavior follows any number of models that are generally specific to religious belief. He has a theodicy that solves the problem of evil with his concept of toxic memes. He appeals to myths of common oppression. He invents language that encodes that meaning for his followers, and he has even taken steps towards building shared social institutions around his belief structure.

By any functional definition, his behavior is clearly religious. He is seeking meaning in questions that are generally considered religious ones.

Craigypooh
17th April 10, 03:52 PM
Obviously, Dawkins would never acknowledge his views as religious or faith based.

You were expecting a quote where he did ? What would you expect a reference to?

Perhaps something which suggests that he doesn't understand that "that repeatable empiricism doesn't constitute a strict logical proof".

Cullion
17th April 10, 04:01 PM
Perhaps something which suggests that he doesn't understand that "that repeatable empiricism doesn't constitute a strict logical proof".

Well his own behaviour suggests it. Would you troll most of the whole world telling them they were deluded if you knew that you couldn't really prove that they were wrong?

Anyway, here are some examples of statements he makes showing he's blind the fact that his own belief system is just that:-


Any belief in miracles is flat contradictory not just to the facts of science but to the spirit of science

He doesn't understand why the first part of this statement is logically absurd, and the second part is a defence of faith.


"there's all the difference in the world between a belief that one is prepared to defend by quoting evidence and logic, and a belief that is supported by nothing more than tradition, authority or revelation."

He would be unable to provide a logical proof that the universe operates at all times according to unchanging mathematical laws, therefore, he's somewhat guilty of hold the second kind of belief himself.

He's a metaphysician who doesn't realise he's engaging in metaphysics.

Craigypooh
17th April 10, 04:48 PM
Well his own behaviour suggests it. Would you troll most of the whole world telling them they were deluded if you knew that you couldn't really prove that they were wrong?

Anyway, here are some examples of statements he makes showing he's blind the fact that his own belief system is just that:-



Any belief in miracles is flat contradictory not just to the facts of science but to the spirit of science

He doesn't understand why the first part of this statement is logically absurd, and the second part is a defence of faith.


"there's all the difference in the world between a belief that one is prepared to defend by quoting evidence and logic, and a belief that is supported by nothing more than tradition, authority or revelation."

He would be unable to provide a logical proof that the universe operates at all times according to unchanging mathematical laws, therefore, he's somewhat guilty of hold the second kind of belief himself.

He's a metaphysician who doesn't realise he's engaging in metaphysics.

He doesn't mention "proof" in that second quote just "evidence and logic". Seems to me to be indicative of someone who does understand evidence and proof are two different things.

I think you may be mixing fact with opinion and suffering from confirmation bias.

Cullion
17th April 10, 04:52 PM
He doesn't have to mention the word 'proof' for that to be implicit in what he says. Logic consists of proofs.

If Dawkins doesn't seem religious to you, fine. I'm not going to try and find an example of him directly saying 'I firmly believe I can prove that the universe is controlled by an invisible machine made of mathematical ideas' to convince you, because he almost certainly hasn't said it but he acts like that's what he thinks and most of what he says is in line with it.

Obviously, you don't think he has a belief system either, probably because you share it. I've already pointed out the quotes where he made logical flaws. Logic consists of proofs. He has no logical proof that the empirical observatons of the last million years will hold tomorrow, but he believes it.

Militant secular humanism is so 2001. I think you're a slightly more articulate version of Virus. Religion bugs you doesn't it?

Craigypooh
17th April 10, 05:27 PM
I've heard Dawkins interviewed and he spoke in terms of God being improbable rather than impossible. So your view surprised me and I wanted to see if you had anything to back it up.

Religion doesn't bug me. I wasn't brought up in a religious household and have no axe to grind.

Cullion
17th April 10, 05:29 PM
Dude, the guy travels the world telling people that they should abandon religion because it's a form of mental illness. He once described giving a child a religious upbringing as 'child abuse'. He's made numerous assertions instances of human history being, in his opinion, marred by religion that don't stand up very well to analysis. He does have a religious zeal about his rationalism that shows a failure to recognise the boundaries of human reason.

Craigypooh
17th April 10, 05:40 PM
I agree he's probably overstating his case with that statement.

Cullion
17th April 10, 05:45 PM
To be honest, taking his statements and actions as a whole, I think when he talks about improbability rather than impossibility he sees it as a hair-splitting logical nicety that he doesn't really believe. I think he sees the scientific method as objective and unshakable truth. It's interesting to note that his other political and philosophical beliefs neatly dovetail with other the non-scientific views that tend to be commonly bundled with the secular-liberal metaphysic.

Have you noticed how all of these outspoken secular humanists of his generation also tend to have almost identikit views on a range of other social issues?

Keith
17th April 10, 07:36 PM
By any functional definition, his behavior is clearly religious. He is seeking meaning in questions that are generally considered religious ones.

Well ANY functional definition of religion should CLEARLY show that Dawkins is religious, so I'll just take the first credible definition I can find

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion



1.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6.
something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
7.
religions, Archaic . religious rites.
8.
Archaic . strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow.

The only part of this definition that would apply to Dawkins is maybe part of 1. "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe," he clearly has some beliefs about the nature of the universe (though I'd say he's a little short on the cause or purpose, and I doubt he'd claim to know)

But does this really constitute a religion or religious beliefs?

I think that my car is still in my carport. I don't have any proof that it's still there. For all I know it could have been stolen right after I parked it. It might have evaporated into ectoplasm as soon as I turned my back on it. But I'm pretty fucking sure it's still there. Without any proof of the whereabouts of my car, or even its existence, my ideas about my car still being in my carport can only be described as a belief that my car is still in my carport. No one would seriously say my belief that my car is in my carport is a religion, despite the fact that it is an unprovable belief about the nature of the universe.

So much of what has been ascribed to the gods in the past has turned out to be natural, the causes of which can be explained by scientific understanding. Extrapolating that the rest of what we don't yet understand is ALSO governed by some sort of natural law seems like a pretty safe bet. It would be a belief about the nature of the universe, but that doesn't make it a religious belief.

I don't think the layman would describe Dawkins as religious. I think those who do label Dawkins as religious do so because they know (or think) he would find the label offensive, and he certainly can be an abrasive cunt.

Calling atheism a religion is like calling not-collecting-stamps a hobby*.

*ok Scott Adams came up with that, but I like it so I'm using it

Commodore Pipes
17th April 10, 07:38 PM
What about definition #6?

Cullion
17th April 10, 07:39 PM
The absence of belief doesn't present itself socially in the same way as the belief in an absence.

Aside from which, your analogy of the car doesn't hold up as well, because you aren't insisting that millions of people who claim to have seen your car be driven away in visions are just lying or insane.

I understand that this is a touchier cultural point for non-believing Americans because turning the wrong corner in your society can easily butt you up against people who try to force Christianity down your throat. But Dawkins really is a zealot by any measure of the term.

Keith
17th April 10, 07:42 PM
Dawkins really is a zealot by any measure of the term.

I'd agree with zealot, and fanatic, and even closet metaphysicist, but not religious.

HappyOldGuy
17th April 10, 07:43 PM
6 is open and shut, and 1 is a pretty easy case to make.

However functional doesn't mean what you think it does in this context.

Think Durkheim.

Cullion
17th April 10, 07:45 PM
I think he qualifies under all of those definitions except 7 and possibly 8.

Keith
17th April 10, 07:58 PM
I think he qualifies under all of those definitions except 7 and possibly 8.

Under 1 you'd have to show where Dawkins claims to know the cause and/or purpose of the universe. As far as I know, he's only adamant about the nature of the universe, not the cause or purpose.

2, 3, 4 and 5 depend on 1 being met.

You could make a case for 6, but 6 could imply that any idea or practice that is pursued with passion could be a religion. Art, sports, science, military discipline, etc. At best I'd say it's a highly informal definition.

Cullion
17th April 10, 08:09 PM
He believes in no purpose, rather than claiming he doesn't believe in a particular purpose, and looks to physics for a cause. He explicitly believes the universe to be self causing.

His entire worldview is inextricably bound to the belief that the universe runs according to immutable, mathematically describable laws which justify their own existence. For him to question their reason for existing would require a detour into unscientific realms, and hence he has made a religion of them themselves.

And it's logically unprovable position.

Keith
17th April 10, 09:15 PM
He believes in no purpose, rather than claiming he doesn't believe in a particular purpose, and looks to physics for a cause. He explicitly believes the universe to be self causing.

His entire worldview is inextricably bound to the belief that the universe runs according to immutable, mathematically describable laws which justify their own existence. For him to question their reason for existing would require a detour into unscientific realms, and hence he has made a religion of them themselves.

This doesn't explain how beliefs that are specifically and explicitly nonreligious magically become religious simply because it would make the holder of those beliefs (who happens to be a jerk) look like a jackass (and this is the whole reason you're even arguing about this, you want Dawkins to be more of a jackass).

Quickly, what religion is Richard Simmons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Simmons)? (link provided in case he's not famous in the UK) If you didn't say "fittnessist" or something like that, why not? He's just as fanatical about fitness as Dawkins is about atheism, and actively promotes it. You might even say he preaches it. How about Tiger Woods? Is he a golfist? Is his devotion to golf any less than Dawkins' devotion to atheism?

True, fitness and golf aren't worldviews. But, if being a worldview makes a belief religious, then there is no difference between the words "worldview" and "religion." We clearly do not always mean synonymous things when we use the words "worldview" and "religion."

Saying that atheism is a religion is like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby.


And it's logically unprovable position.
Irrelevant. There are a lot of logically unprovable positions that have nothing to do with religion.

Cullion
17th April 10, 09:17 PM
Dawkins' belief is religious because he has an unprovable but firm belief in the nature of the universe that he thinks will transform the world into a better place if enough people convert. Just like HOG already explained.

Dawkins isn't just talking about a way of approaching one aspect of life (physical health) which he really likes and thinks is good for you, like Simmons is. He's talking about how everything really works on the deepest level, and he will brook no compromise. But he will never be able to prove it, hence it must rest on faith.

Remember, Dawkins thinks that people who teach their children the religion they themselves were raised with are child abusers. I doubt if Simmons would feel the same way about people who teach their kids to lift weights and go hiking instead of doing aerobics.

bob
17th April 10, 10:36 PM
Actually i think he said Catholicism was child abuse.

nihilist
18th April 10, 01:28 AM
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Keith
18th April 10, 03:25 AM
Dawkins' belief is religious because he has an unprovable but firm belief in the nature of the universe that he thinks will transform the world into a better place if enough people convert. Just like HOG already explained.

Dawkins isn't just talking about a way of approaching one aspect of life (physical health) which he really likes and thinks is good for you, like Simmons is. He's talking about how everything really works on the deepest level, and he will brook no compromise. But he will never be able to prove it, hence it must rest on faith.

Remember, Dawkins thinks that people who teach their children the religion they themselves were raised with are child abusers. I doubt if Simmons would feel the same way about people who teach their kids to lift weights and go hiking instead of doing aerobics.

Imagine, if you will, a man that accepts Jesus Christ as his personal savior. He doesn't go out preaching or trying to convert people, he just quietly practices his Christianity in anonymity. He goes to church every once in a while. Not too often, but often, but on the major holy days and a few times in between. He has heard some of the counter-augments to Christianity and he has some doubts, but he thinks that the Jesus thing is probably the way to so and he simply prays, quietly to himself, for a better understanding of God's way. When asked if he is religious, he replies: "Yes, I am Christian."

In other words, he doesn't do ANY of that crap that Dawkins does that you insist necessarily makes Dawkins religious. Would you argue with equal insistence that such a man is NOT religious?

Cullion
18th April 10, 07:22 AM
No I wouldn't. That doesn't mean Dawkins isn't religious in his beliefs, it just means the Christian in your example is less of an objectionable nutbar than him.

Keith
18th April 10, 12:25 PM
No I wouldn't. That doesn't mean Dawkins isn't religious in his beliefs, it just means the Christian in your example is less of an objectionable nutbar than him.

You're twisting the common use of the words "religious" and "religion" because you want so much for Dawkins to fit in that category. You've twisted it so much, I fear you finally broke it. In the paragraph I just quoted from you, you wrote "No I wouldn't. (consider him religious)" and in the very next sentence you call the man a Christian. Please explain how someone can be a Christian and not be religious.

HappyOldGuy
18th April 10, 12:30 PM
Imagine, if you will, a man that accepts Jesus Christ as his personal savior. He doesn't go out preaching or trying to convert people, he just quietly practices his Christianity in anonymity. He goes to church every once in a while. Not too often, but often, but on the major holy days and a few times in between. He has heard some of the counter-augments to Christianity and he has some doubts, but he thinks that the Jesus thing is probably the way to so and he simply prays, quietly to himself, for a better understanding of God's way. When asked if he is religious, he replies: "Yes, I am Christian."

In other words, he doesn't do ANY of that crap that Dawkins does that you insist necessarily makes Dawkins religious. Would you argue with equal insistence that such a man is NOT religious?
You are committing a pretty basic grade school logic error here,

If say that having fur and four legs is a characteristic of cats. They don't stop being a cat if I remove a limb and shave them.

Cullion
18th April 10, 12:34 PM
You're twisting the common use of the words "religious" and "religion" because you want so much for Dawkins to fit in that category. You've twisted it so much, I fear you finally broke it. In the paragraph I just quoted from you, you wrote "No I wouldn't. (consider him religious)" and in the very next sentence you call the man a Christian. Please explain how someone can be a Christian and not be religious.

You're simply confused by a double negative. I said 'No I wouldn't in response to this:-


Would you argue with equal insistence that such a man is NOT religious?

No, I wouldn't argue that he's not religious.

Now reread the rest of the post and it will make sense.

Keith
18th April 10, 04:45 PM
Ahh, I see where the confusion was on my part. I phrased the question awkwardly in the first place. My bad.

To the subject at hand:

Just to make sure we’re talking about the same thing: “Religious” doesn’t always mean the same thing in every context. If you want to say that Dawkins is religious about atheism in the same way that Tiger Woods is religious about golf, I will concede and we can stop here. If you mean that he’s religious in the same way a priest is religious, read on.

It is possible to have a belief about the nature of the universe that is unprovable, and yet is reasonable and non-religious (my car is in my carport). You seem to be saying that beliefs start to enter religious territory when they state things of a more fundamental nature about the universe.

But this is not enough. Physics states things about the fundamental nature of our universe. The student of physics cannot possibly repeat all of the experiments conducted over hundreds of years that establish the laws and principles of physics, so he or she will have to take some of it on faith. Yet physics is generally not considered a religious study. So there must be more to a belief that makes it religious aside from stating things about the fundamental nature of the universe.

You stated

Dawkins' belief is religious because he has an unprovable but firm belief in the nature of the universe that he thinks will transform the world into a better place if enough people convert…He's talking about how everything really works on the deepest level, and he will brook no compromise

So you seem to be saying that once a belief states something fundamental about the nature of the universe, the believer will not compromise on it, and the believer thinks it will make the world a better if everyone else thought this way, then the belief is a religious one.

Yet Mr. Christian Example exhibits NONE of these qualities, but his belief is still religious. Mr. Christian Example would probably be considered of a lesser degree of religiousness, but we can take the example of a Zen/Buddhist monk. He doesn’t actively preach or spread his faith and is open to new ideas in his quest to free himself from delusion, yet is considered by most to be devoutly religious.

The only thing we’re left with to differentiate religious from non-religious ideas is an unprovable belief about the nature of the universe, and previously mentioned statements of cause and purpose of the universe. Ideas that are simply about the nature of the universe, such as physics, are not religious because they lack the cause and purpose.

You also said

He believes in no purpose, rather than claiming he doesn't believe in a particular purpose, and looks to physics for a cause. He explicitly believes the universe to be self causing.

No purpose by your own admission. I’d like to see where he “explicitly” states the universe to be self-causing, as physics asserts nothing of the sort.

And then there’s the whole illogical business.

It's implicit in what he believes. He believes that physical laws are absolute and hold everywhere at all times. That's an unprovable proposition, but it's one that's likely to be true based on repeatable observations to date.

Dawkins and people like him don't understand that repeatable empiricism doesn't constitute a strict logical proof of the 'immutable mathematical law' concept of the universe. People who say it isn't true anger him pretty much to the same extent that other zealous religious believers get angered when you dispute their beliefs.

Wrong.

Inductive reasoning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning) is an accepted subsection of formal logic. Repeatable empiricism forms the basis for conclusions reached through inductive reasoning. Dawkins can’t prove with absolute certainty, but doing so it not a requirement for his argument to be logical. And:

To be honest, taking his statements and actions as a whole, I think when he talks about improbability rather than impossibility he sees it as a hair-splitting logical nicety that he doesn't really believe.
He doesn’t claim to be absolutely certain, by your own admission.

The only thing we have here to make a case that his beliefs might be illogical, and therefore possibly religious, is your unprovable belief that he doesn’t really mean it when he acknowledges that he can’t be certain. Again, he’s only religious because you really really want him to be.

Yes he acts on his beliefs, you know the ones that you say yourself are likely to be true, as if they were true. Everyone does this all the time with no religious implication or accusations that they are behaving illogically (my car is in my carport). No one could fucking function if we didn’t act on some repeated empirical observations as if they were certain. For instance, I’m pretty fucking sure you believe that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. There’s a slim possibility that it might not, but it’s not unreasonable to act as if the sun rising is certain, and I'd wager that you don't seriously believe that it won't rise tomorrow. I wouldn’t accuse you of being part of some sun cult if you planned out your next day, or even made plans months or years in advance taking for granted the certainty that the sun will continue to rise.

HappyOldGuy
18th April 10, 05:29 PM
Did you even bother to google durkheim? Dawkins beliefs are religious because his negative statements about god serve the exact same function in his life that other people use positive statements about god to serve.

He doesn't just casually not believe in god the way most rational atheists do. He has invented his own imaginary sky wizards that he calls memes which answer the basic quesitons that sky wizards always answer.

That's why he is religious about atheism in ways that tiger is not religious about golf.

Cullion
18th April 10, 05:35 PM
You can prove the car is in your carport by looking in your carport.

The idea that the universe is governed by solely, by unchanging, mathematically describable laws is impossible to prove by formal logic, nor is it empirically testable.

Dawkins has moved from believing something to be most likely based on prior observation, to trying to convince the entire planet that this is how the universe works and that they should purge their minds of other explanations, with those who refuse to do so being guilty of child abuse. For somebody who claims to be uncertain, that's astonishingly confident, to the point of being nutty, wouldn't you say ?

I don't see why it's controversial that I accuse him of deep-down believing something different from what he will say when cornered on a point. People do that all the time. This is somebody making his life's work of preaching a particular ontology and trying to eliminate all others. I don't feel it's inappropriate to judge him on his actions.

Rationalist cosmology of the kind Dawkins is espousing by definition assumes the universe to be self-causing, as this philosophy allows for nothing outside it's laws. These laws have no author. They just are.. That's a metaphysical belief system, not a scientific statement.

Don't confuse this metaphysical belief with 'Physics'. They aren't the same thing.

nihilist
18th April 10, 05:36 PM
Tiger has sex religiously with any woman who is not his wife whereas Dawkins just masturbates to pictures of hanging priests.

bob
18th April 10, 06:24 PM
The 'abuse' thing was specifically claiming that people telling children that they were going to be tortured in hell for all eternity was a form of mental abuse. I'm pretty sure he's never said that the mere act of imparting religious beliefs on children is child abuse. There's a world of difference.

Commodore Pipes
18th April 10, 06:24 PM
I love how the last three pages has been an ongoing debate about defining terms.

No, seriously, I love it. If we all defined our terms before we argued there wouldn't be any room for Glenn Beck/Bill O'Reilly motherfuckers.

Cullion
18th April 10, 06:28 PM
The 'abuse' thing was specifically claiming that people telling children that they were going to be tortured in hell for all eternity was a form of mental abuse. I'm pretty sure he's never said that the mere act of imparting religious beliefs on children is child abuse. There's a world of difference.


I am sure her experience is far from unique. And what if we assume a less altruistic child, worried about her own eternity rather than a friend's? Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is, I suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of bringing them up Catholic in the first place.

But at least he explains where he got the all-consuming nerd-rage from :-



Happily I was spared the misfortune of a Roman Catholic upbringing (Anglicanism is a significantly less noxious strain of the virus). Being fondled by the Latin master in the Squash Court was a disagreeable sensation for a nine-year-old, a mixture of embarrassment and skin-crawling revulsion, but it was certainly not in the same league as being led to believe that I, or someone I knew, might go to everlasting fire. As soon as I could wriggle off his knee, I ran to tell my friends and we had a good laugh, our fellowship enhanced by the shared experience of the same sad pedophile. I do not believe that I, or they, suffered lasting, or even temporary damage from this disagreeable physical abuse of power. Given the Latin Master's eventual suicide, maybe the damage was all on his side.

Au contrere mon frere Professor Dawkins.

But yes, of course you're really just intellectually outraged at the idea that an ontology might include the concept of supernatural punishment. Of course Professor.

This is nothing to do with an understandable life-long revulsion complex at being the victim of abuse which has now taken on messianic and irrational proportions. Not at all.

I think he ought to just take up yoga or something.

bob
18th April 10, 06:29 PM
Yes, and he goes on to specifically cite the inculcation of belief in Hell. He's not talking about just a different way of explaining the universe.

HappyOldGuy
18th April 10, 06:32 PM
Yes, and he goes on to specifically cite the inculcation of belief in Hell. He's not talking about just a different way of explaining the universe.
Cause "grandma is rotting in the ground being eaten by worms" is so much better.

Of course science (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Beliefs+about+life-after-death,+psychiatric+symptomology+and...-a0181082548) actually tells us which is mentally healthier. But since dawkins is a cultist, he feels free to reject evidence that doesn't agree with his faith.

Cullion
18th April 10, 06:36 PM
Yes, and he goes on to specifically cite the inculcation of belief in Hell. He's not talking about just a different way of explaining the universe.

Yes, and then makes absurd unscientific assertions that it causes psychological damage whilst rationalising how his own sexual abuse wasn't that bad. Let's be clear, his idea that teaching people they'll be fiercely punished if they unrepetantly misbehave causes mental illness is just not scientific.

I'd go as far to say that he just made it up.

I'm sorry, but this man is clearly, and understandably, deeply disturbed. He's clearly developed an irrational dislike of the traditional religions because of what happened to him.

Doritosaurus Chex
18th April 10, 07:08 PM
Cause "grandma is rotting in the ground being eaten by worms" is so much better.

Of course science (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Beliefs+about+life-after-death,+psychiatric+symptomology+and...-a0181082548) actually tells us which is mentally healthier. But since dawkins is a cultist, he feels free to reject evidence that doesn't agree with his faith.

I interpreted the abuse as "Telling your kid that he's going to spend an eternity burning in a lake of fire because he wouldn't follow the commandment to honor thy mother and they father" as an alternative to whipping him with your belt because he wouldn't eat his vegetables.

UpaLumpa
18th April 10, 11:07 PM
He doesn't just casually not believe in god the way most rational atheists do. He has invented his own imaginary sky wizards that he calls memes which answer the basic quesitons that sky wizards always answer.

This is the weakest and probably lamest argument I've ever seen you make.

That said I would agree that Dawkins presents himself in a way that is consistent with what many would characterize as religious fervor. When not on talk shows though his comments indicate otherwise. That's self-promotion rather than self-delusion. Of course it isn't honest but it is sometimes refreshing given the apologistics of individuals like Ken Miller. Of course I'd rather have Miller give a talk to an audience representative of Americans as a whole.

HappyOldGuy
18th April 10, 11:13 PM
This is the weakest and probably lamest argument I've ever seen you make.

In what way? You believe that this notion of religion as a toxic meme is defensible? Is science? It's not. It's a creation myth explaining the existence of evil.

bob
19th April 10, 02:36 AM
Yes, and then makes absurd unscientific assertions that it causes psychological damage whilst rationalising how his own sexual abuse wasn't that bad. Let's be clear, his idea that teaching people they'll be fiercely punished for all eternity if they don't happen to share a specific cultural belief set


Hell is for unbelievers, not just misbehavers.

The question of 'damage' is a long and drawn out argument. From my perspective it's enough to say that it's a shitty thing to tell a kid and I'd be angry if someone tried it on mine.

Keith
19th April 10, 02:45 AM
The idea that the universe is governed by solely, by unchanging, mathematically describable laws is impossible to prove by formal logic

Inductive reasoning is part of formal logic. No matter how many times you say "no no no!" this will not change.


nor is it empirically testable.

I can only think of two things that you might be getting at here:

1) The laws and principles of physics are not empirically testable.
This would probably be the stupidest thing I've ever seen you post.

2) Dawkins has to personally test every physical interactions in the entire universe to verify that some form of physics can be developed to describe it, in order to have a the level of certainty required for his belief to be logical, because it is a rational hypothesis that there is a phenomena somewhere in the universe that no physics can ever be developed to describe
This would be a ridiculously high standard of proof. If we hold all knowledge to such a standard, it would be impossible for anyone to have a logical thought, ever.

If you mean something else by "nor is it empirically testable," please elaborate.


Dawkins has moved from believing something to be most likely based on prior observation, to trying to convince the entire planet that this is how the universe works and that they should purge their minds of other explanations, with those who refuse to do so being guilty of child abuse.

His level of commitment has no bearing on whether or not his belief is religious. I've made several examples already demonstrating this.


For somebody who claims to be uncertain, that's astonishingly confident, to the point of being nutty, wouldn't you say ?

Again, do you actually make plans taking into account the possibility that the sun might not rise tomorrow? Dawkins feels that he has reached that level of certainty.


I don't see why it's controversial that I accuse him of deep-down believing something different from what he will say when cornered on a point. People do that all the time.

Because you don't know what's really in the man's heart.


This is somebody making his life's work of preaching a particular ontology and trying to eliminate all others.

Again, this is irrelevant as to whether or not his belief is religious.


I don't feel it's inappropriate to judge him on his actions.

How would his actions be different if he was honestly 99.99999% certain, rather than 100% certain?


Rationalist cosmology of the kind Dawkins is espousing by definition assumes the universe to be self-causing, as this philosophy allows for nothing outside it's laws. These laws have no author. They just are.. That's a metaphysical belief system, not a scientific statement.

You might have something here if physics was all-encompassing, complete and unchanging.

Most of the phenomena that we did not understand in the past can now be described by physics.
Further phenomena that we don't currently understand will probably be described by some physics eventually.
What is metaphysical about this?

Keith
19th April 10, 02:50 AM
Did you even bother to google durkheim? Dawkins beliefs are religious because his negative statements about god serve the exact same function in his life that other people use positive statements about god to serve.

He doesn't just casually not believe in god the way most rational atheists do. He has invented his own imaginary sky wizards that he calls memes which answer the basic quesitons that sky wizards always answer.

That's why he is religious about atheism in ways that tiger is not religious about golf.

I must admit I've been arguing with Cullion a bit too much and haven't been paying attention to the meme thing. I don't know much about what Dawkins says about memes, so it will take a bit of research on my part to address this intelligently. You could help by summing it up and citing a few sources, but people on the internet seem reluctant to actually present their arguments, so I don't expect you to. You'll have to give me some time to brush up on this.

Cullion
19th April 10, 05:36 AM
Inductive reasoning is part of formal logic. No matter how many times you say "no no no!" this will not change.

I'm extensively trained in formal logic and you simply don't know what you're talking about. To convince yourself, try and construct a formal proof of anything discussed here, and I will demolish it for you formally and mathematically.



I can only think of two things that you might be getting at here:

1) The laws and principles of physics are not empirically testable.
This would probably be the stupidest thing I've ever seen you post.

2) Dawkins has to personally test every physical interactions in the entire universe to verify that some form of physics can be developed to describe it, in order to have a the level of certainty required for his belief to be logical, because it is a rational hypothesis that there is a phenomena somewhere in the universe that no physics can ever be developed to describe
This would be a ridiculously high standard of proof. If we hold all knowledge to such a standard, it would be impossible for anyone to have a logical thought, ever.

If you mean something else by "nor is it empirically testable," please elaborate.

You cannot demonstrate by experiment that the laws of physics will not change. What you're suggesting is a logical impossibility.



Again, do you actually make plans taking into account the possibility that the sun might not rise tomorrow?

I'm not engaged in a quest to brand people who do think that as being child abusers.



Because you don't know what's really in the man's heart.

Yes I do, I'm quite entitled to judge a person's mental state by their behaviour.



You might have something here if physics was all-encompassing, complete and unchanging.

Most of the phenomena that we did not understand in the past can now be described by physics.
Further phenomena that we don't currently understand will probably be described by some physics eventually.
What is metaphysical about this?

The metaphysical framework in question is the one which takes it on faith that the laws won't simply alter or be ignored altogether at some point in the future, or haven't at some point in the past. It's a metaphysical belief when you can't construct a formal proof against it, but you're so absolutely certain it's true
that you wish to forbid all other ontologies.

We're not talking about somebody who doesn't believe in Christian or Hindu beliefs about the world, we're talking about somebody who wants to forbid anybody else from believing those things.

UpaLumpa
19th April 10, 09:43 AM
In what way? You believe that this notion of religion as a toxic meme is defensible? Is science? It's not.

Its problem is that it doesn't make exclusive testable predictions from competing explanations like those proposed by DS Wilson.

That said certain aspects of it are consistent with available evidence. Certainly not all.


It's a creation myth explaining the existence of evil.

Oh bullshit. What are the mechanisms that lead to the proliferation of some, but not other, religious ideas and religions? It sure as fuck isn't "truthiness". The meme idea is as consistent with available evidence as other proposed explanations.

I get it, a lot of you think Dawkins is a dick. I agree. Get over it and make reasonable arguments.

HappyOldGuy
19th April 10, 10:59 AM
Its problem is that it doesn't make exclusive testable predictions from competing explanations like those proposed by DS Wilson.
To the extent it makes testable predictions. They fail. Which shouldn't have even needed testing since it starts with the assumption that the most universal of all human customs is maladaptive. Which is laughable on it's face. Because he is starting with the a priori assumption that religion sucks and then inventing this ides of toxic/parasitic/etc memes to try and explain away that fact that most of the human race disagrees with him. Whereas if he had done the tiniest bit of research into the actual science, he would have found metric fucktons of evidence about the various ways that religion is not only adaptive, but superior to other alternatives.


That said certain aspects of it are consistent with available evidence. Certainly not all.
Name one. Be specific. I've got a sneaking suspicion you haven't actually read the god delusion.

Cullion
19th April 10, 11:12 AM
The clear dividing line where rationalism turn into worship of the invisible machine god is when people start just making shit up, or uncritically believing completely unscientific propositions because they've slipped into a fanatical 'us vs them' mentality regarding materialistic secular humanism vs 'everything else'.

nihilist
19th April 10, 12:10 PM
The clear dividing line where rationalism turn into worship of the invisible machine god is when people start just making shit up, or uncritically believing completely unscientific propositions because they've slipped into a fanatical 'us vs them' mentality regarding materialistic secular humanism vs 'everything else'.


That's the key right there.

Keith
21st April 10, 04:15 AM
Yes I do,

Youíre psychic now? James Randi has some money for you if you can prove it.


I'm quite entitled to judge a person's mental state by their behaviour.

You are entitled to judge Dawkins all you want, but to passing off your opinionated judgment of the character of a man you obviously have a personal disliking for as fact, while accusing Dawkins of illogic on the basis of some obscure metaphysical technical point, might well qualify as a definition of irony.

You were asked to explain how Dawkins behavior would be different if he was honestly 99.99999% certain, rather than 100% certain, or very certain as opposed to totally certain. Please enlighten me as to how Dawkins behavior would be different if he honestly feels, in his heart, that there remains a slim chance of him being wrong (something on the order of being struck by lightning) as opposed to his total conviction of the infallibility of his beliefs. If you cannot point to a difference, then your judgment, while you are certainly entitled to it, is highly suspect.


It's a metaphysical belief when you can't construct a formal proof against it,

Wait, so ALL reasoning must be done in form or it suddenly becomes metaphysical? How odd.


but you're so absolutely certain it's true
that you wish to forbid all other ontologies.

Itís either a metaphysical belief, or itís not. The level of commitment of the believer does not make the belief more or less metaphysical.


You cannot demonstrate by experiment that the laws of physics will not change. What you're suggesting is a logical impossibility.


The metaphysical framework in question is the one which takes it on faith that the laws won't simply alter or be ignored altogether at some point in the future, or haven't at some point in the past.

Really? This is what youíre going with? That physics might change at some point? You really think itís unreasonable to discount the notion that the universe might spontaneously turn itself on its own head for a reason that can never be understood by any form of physics ever? I donít know what to say.

Looking at things through a lens of relativity, the notion that the laws of physics might change in the future is a curious one indeed.


I'm extensively trained in formal logic and you simply don't know what you're talking about. To convince yourself, try and construct a formal proof of anything discussed here, and I will demolish it for you formally and mathematically.

Ok.
First off, should you lay waste to my humble proof as you so confidently assure yourself you will, you cannot use your success as a strawman against Dawkins. My proof is not his.

In form:

I have to insist on a few postulates first.
A) I exist.
B) My senses (and other peopleís) are, for the most part, reliable.
C) There is no evil demon in my head fucking with my reasoning.
D) What I perceive is actually reality, not a simulation or imagination of another being.
E) There is no vast conspiracy against me, feeding me false information about history, the rest of the world, etc.

If you donít allow me these few things, Iím afraid that thereís no way to satisfy you. And onward:

1) Physics makes mathematical predictions about the universe
2) The more that people learned about the universe, the more it was found that the universe behaves in mathematically predictable ways.
3) There are recorded accounts of physics experiments over a large section of human history, which are consistent with each other (barring inaccuracies due methods of measurement) and consistent with experiments that can be performed now, which support mathematical predictions.

Conclusion: It is probable that the rest of the universe also behaves in mathematically predictable ways, and will continue to do so.

I await the oncoming storm of demolition.

Cullion
21st April 10, 04:25 AM
Youíre psychic now? James Randi has some money for you if you can prove it.

I don't need to be psychic to infer somebody's mental state from their behaviour, just highly observant and with a profound understanding of human nature. I satisfy both criteria.



You were asked to explain how Dawkins behavior would be different if he was honestly 99.99999% certain, rather than 100% certain, or very certain as opposed to totally certain. Please enlighten me as to how Dawkins behavior would be different if he honestly feels, in his heart, that there remains a slim chance of him being wrong (something on the order of being struck by lightning) as opposed to his total conviction of the infallibility of his beliefs.

He might shut the fuck up and introspect once in a while. Perhaps even concluding that he should let people be as long as they do him no harm.



Wait, so ALL reasoning must be done in form or it suddenly becomes metaphysical? How odd.

No no no. You don't understand the term 'metaphysical'.



Itís either a metaphysical belief, or itís not. The level of commitment of the believer does not make the belief more or less metaphysical.

It's not made more or less metaphysical by the degree of belief. I expect you to read at least a whole wiki page on the word 'metaphysics' before coming back to this line of argument.



Really? This is what youíre going with? That physics might change at some point? You really think itís unreasonable to discount the notion that the universe might spontaneously turn itself on its own head for a reason that can never be understood by any form of physics ever? I donít know what to say.

I know it seems completely unreasonable to you. I was not asking you what seems most likely.



1) Physics makes mathematical predictions about the universe
2) The more that people learned about the universe, the more it was found that the universe behaves in mathematically predictable ways.
3) There are recorded accounts of physics experiments over a large section of human history, which are consistent with each other (barring inaccuracies due methods of measurement) and consistent with experiments that can be performed now, which support mathematical predictions.

Conclusion: It is probable that the rest of the universe also behaves in mathematically predictable ways, and will continue to do so.

This isn't a proof of your original postulate.
You are trying to demonstrate a formal proof that patterns deduced from the sum of all observations to date won't be violated tomorrow. What you are demonstrating is that given the subset of observations that you personally trust, it hasn't happened in the known past. The two propositions are not the same.



I await the oncoming storm of demolition.

That didn't take long.

Keith
21st April 10, 04:31 AM
This isn't a proof of your original postulate.

That's because I didn't state one. And you didn't ask for it.


try and construct a formal proof of anything discussed here


You are trying to demonstrate a formal proof that patterns deduced from the sum of all observations to date won't be violated tomorrow. What you are demonstrating is that given the subset of observations that you personally trust, it hasn't happened in the known past. The two propositions are not the same.
Except I said it was probable, not certain.




That didn't take long.
Guess not.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
21st April 10, 04:48 AM
1) Physics makes mathematical predictions about the universe
2) The more that people learned about the universe, the more it was found that the universe behaves in mathematically predictable ways.
3) There are recorded accounts of physics experiments over a large section of human history, which are consistent with each other (barring inaccuracies due methods of measurement) and consistent with experiments that can be performed now, which support mathematical predictions.
.

I honestly hope you're not a scientist!

Physics makes predictions based on empirical knowledge and explains those predictions using mathematical formal systems, eg General Realativity uses tensor fields. Believe it or not there are huge problems with any sufficiently complex formal system (tensor analysis being sufficiently complex).

Physics does change and Einstien's formulation of General Realtivity is a great example of that, as is Quantum Physics. In fact due to these two revolutions in understanding, it has become obvious that there is something we still do not understand, something that may well redefine physics dramatically.

Cullion
21st April 10, 05:02 AM
That's because I didn't state one.

Yes you did.



And you didn't ask for it.

I certainly did.



Except I said it was probable, not certain.

You shouldn't talk about the terms 'metaphysics', 'proof' or 'logic' until you've completed this reading list:-

http://books.google.com/books?id=iqvsjhvZCgcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=formal+logic&source=bl&ots=relgfVQSiv&sig=_JVVurtd0Hkmy2u1qTxQm3kXA1E&hl=en&ei=M8rOS7jOCI7u0gSeppzvDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CBUQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1557782040/ref=s9_k2ah_gw_ir01?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_r=05EJSA4G5M1471TKJ9T7&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938811&pf_rd_i=507846

Then we can come back to this.

Commodore Pipes
21st April 10, 09:40 AM
I honestly hope you're not a scientist!

Physics makes predictions based on empirical knowledge and explains those predictions using mathematical formal systems, eg General Realativity uses tensor fields. Believe it or not there are huge problems with any sufficiently complex formal system (tensor analysis being sufficiently complex).

Physics does change and Einstien's formulation of General Realtivity is a great example of that, as is Quantum Physics. In fact due to these two revolutions in understanding, it has become obvious that there is something we still do not understand, something that may well redefine physics dramatically.

I'm pretty sure that Keith stated that even if we come across unexplainable phenomena, as our observations and theories become more sophisticated, those unexplainable phenomena will be explained. So not that physics (or even science) as it is is static and sufficient to explain the mechanics of the universe, but that the information collected and extraploated via the scientific method will be sufficient. Or "All you need is science, daaa da da da da da."

Of course, I am not a physist, so I very well might have misidentified your point.

Cullion
21st April 10, 10:30 AM
Max and Keith don't understand what I'm really talking about here when I discuss metaphysics and proof.

This isn't about whether or not we may refine our understanding of a mathematical framework of physical laws. This is about whether or not such a thing truly applies everywhere and in perpetuity, or whether we merely have the appearance of one brought about from a limited, finite dataset (which is also reliant on discarding observations which cannot be repeated reliably).

It's possible to use logic to demonstrate that all experimental data thus collected regarding gravity complies with Einstein's theory of General Relativity. It is not possible to use logic to prove that General Relativity won't suddenly cease to apply tomorrow lunchtime, being sure that it won't happen is essentially a belief in a particular metaphysical system. One which has so far served, but not one that is provably so.

We aren't talking about what the mathematical description of our universe is, we're talking about whether or not even if we had a complete description that worked today the same one would work tomorrow, and even whether or not any mathematical description would apply tomorrow.

Keith, for a moment, thought couldn't see that he was espousing a metaphysical belief, but I think now he can. No doubt, it's one which he will still think is highly likely to be correct (as do I, but that's incidental), but I also think he will understand that it's not something it would ever be possible for him to formally prove was true.

Now Richard Dawkins is a highly educated man. When cornered he is of course aware that he cannot prove this so he makes a token gesture at '99.9% rather than 100%', but his actions are those of a man who is so sure this metaphysic is true that he :-

a) Wants to eliminate belief in all others

b) Flatly makes counterfactual assertions to this aim.

I think this is religious and irrational in nature, and likely stems from his early child abuse by an Anglican clergyman.

Suggestion: Dawkins takes up Yoga or listens to more whale song or something and stops trying to tell most of the world's population that they're insane.

And that's all she wrote.

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 10:40 AM
(which is also reliant on discarding observations which cannot be repeated reliably).

Needed bolding.

Commodore Pipes
21st April 10, 10:54 AM
That's what I figured you were getting at, Cullion. I just thought that it was worth clarifying Keith's position (as I understood it, which is not actually anything I would trust, FYI) so that we could streamline the debate and not have a two- or three-front debate, so to speak.

For what it's worth, I think using science to attack religion basically turns people off of science and makes them defensive, which I imagine is contrary to one's motivation*. So many things are associated with religion that it can be hard to determine what that defensiveness is intended to defend; I know that seems stupid, but we all know an emotional response is not necessarily rational. I think it's better to define the parameters of science as NOT NECCESSARILY threatening religion. Then you give people (particularly indoctrinated young people) the tools to think critically themselves, and maybe they'll buy in, and maybe they'll not. But attacking something they strongly identify with just makes them feel attacked.

*Now, some people do just want to use their knowledge of science to bother and irritate religious folk, with no regard for actually 'converting' them. I've known them.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
21st April 10, 10:56 AM
Max and Keith don't understand what I'm really talking about here when I discuss metaphysics and proof.

No I think I get it. I think you somewhat missed my point (or I put it too subtly)

Maths is used in physics to best explain observation. It does not mean that science is exact or 100% true, just because somebody uses mathematics to discribe it. The maths is a best fit model.


It is not possible to use logic to prove that General Relativity won't suddenly cease to apply tomorrow lunchtime, being sure that it won't happen is essentially a belief in a particular metaphysical system. One which has so far served, but not one that is provably so.

Agreed, scientific models are just (as mentioned above) a best gues given the available data.

Dawkins for all intents and purposes is a material chauvanist or to put it another way, a bigot.

Cullion
21st April 10, 11:12 AM
I'm sticking with 'worshipper of the invisible machine god'. I think if enough people use the term about materialistic zealots like Dawkins it will really annoy them. And that would be delicious.

Commodore Pipes
21st April 10, 11:20 AM
It does have a certain ring to it, doesn't it. "Worshipper of the invisible machine god."

Except that he doesn't actually think it is invisible, does he? Now, I know you have said that observable, repeatable phenomena only allows you to create models of what is observable and repeatable, but it sounds like the dawk-meister doesn't believe there is any other kind of phenomena, so wouldn't that make him the "worshipper of the visible machine god"? Or maybe he worships at the feet of the visible machine idol?

I mean, as far as he is concerned.

Zendetta
21st April 10, 11:45 AM
I'm sticking with 'worshipper of the invisible machine god'.

This, truely, is some of your best work.

Cullion
21st April 10, 12:14 PM
It does have a certain ring to it, doesn't it. "Worshipper of the invisible machine god."

Except that he doesn't actually think it is invisible, does he? Now, I know you have said that observable, repeatable phenomena only allows you to create models of what is observable and repeatable, but it sounds like the dawk-meister doesn't believe there is any other kind of phenomena, so wouldn't that make him the "worshipper of the visible machine god"? Or maybe he worships at the feet of the visible machine idol?

I mean, as far as he is concerned.

Actually, he has a to go a step further in his inference. Building models from observed repeatable phenomena only allows you to create things you can generate formal proofs about which are

a) In the past.

b) With the unprovable assumption that the apparently mechanistic rules weren't broken, not even once or twice.

You've heard of the 'God of the Gaps' hypothesis ? Dawkins' Gaps are filled with a set of all-powerful mathematical laws which he hopes to discover one day but he cannot yet see.

It's a profoundly mystical vision of the universe requiring real faith.

Compare it to this view:-

Yep, we've worked out some rules which seem to have held most of the time.

Still, you do get people claiming to have seen things which don't fit them occasionally. Are they all lying, mistaken or insane ? I dunno, I wasn't there.
It would certainly be kind of unscientific to asset that was the case about all of them without even meeting them. Who knows? Shit happens. Perhaps the rules don't always hold.

It's not actually possible to use rigorous logic to decide between those two positions, although the latter one requires less certainty about that events not directly experienced by the holder, so I'd venture it's actually more rational, from the perspective of 'what can I prove about the world?'.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 12:24 PM
To the extent it makes testable predictions. They fail. Which shouldn't have even needed testing since it starts with the assumption that the most universal of all human customs is maladaptive. Which is laughable on it's face. Because he is starting with the a priori assumption that religion sucks and then inventing this ides of toxic/parasitic/etc memes to try and explain away that fact that most of the human race disagrees with him. Whereas if he had done the tiniest bit of research into the actual science, he would have found metric fucktons of evidence about the various ways that religion is not only adaptive, but superior to other alternatives.


Name one. Be specific. I've got a sneaking suspicion you haven't actually read the god delusion.

In reading the book I didn't agree about the toxic part, the parasitic meme part I found to be generally consistent. As for "metric fucktons" of evidence that religion is adaptive, that's a harder argument to make than you might think.

Cullion
21st April 10, 12:28 PM
Most human beings, throughout history, and today, are religious.

I await with interest the scientific argument explaining how this has hindered their reproductive prospects.

However, if for the purpose of this debate, our definition of 'maladaptive' is something closer to 'Makes Professor Dawkins feel funny in the pit of his stomach and give him horrid, horrid thoughts about the touching-pee-pee-in-secret game', then I can certainly see where you are coming from.

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 12:29 PM
In reading the book I didn't agree about the toxic part, the parasitic meme part I found to be generally consistent. As for "metric fucktons" of evidence that religion is adaptive, that's a harder argument to make than you might think.

I'm familiar with rather alot of it, and I've posted dozens of links in these kinds of debates. It has warts, especially because religion is so intimately tied to other factors (race, class, education, income, profession, etc) that it is often difficult to isolate the specifically religious effect, but the psychological evidence on depression and suicide is rock solid, the all cause mortality associations are decent (but sometimes fall short of statistical relevance depending on the study and the measure), and the various measures of social engagement are quite well established also.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 12:38 PM
Cullion,

You are awfully certain that you've got Dawkins' pegged well. Ever consider the possibility that he takes an intentionally extreme position to make a point?

Personally when it comes to having people argue about things like evolution with creationists, I prefer that someone like Ken Miller does it. However, Ken Miller and individuals similar to them carry with them their own biases that they have to jump through metaphysical and pseudoscientific hoops that make Dawkins look perfectly level.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 12:42 PM
Most human beings, throughout history, and today, are religious.

I await with interest the scientific argument explaining how this has hindered their reproductive prospects.


I'm familiar with rather alot of it, and I've posted dozens of links in these kinds of debates. It has warts, especially because religion is so intimately tied to other factors (race, class, education, income, profession, etc) that it is often difficult to isolate the specifically religious effect, but the psychological evidence on depression and suicide is rock solid, the all cause mortality associations are decent (but sometimes fall short of statistical relevance depending on the study and the measure), and the various measures of social engagement are quite well established also.


Religion can be considered an aspect of the environment individuals reproduce and survive in. Most arguments about the adaptive nature of religion can be as easily explained as humans being adapted to a religious environment. These aren't mutually exclusive of course, that's part of what I was introducing by bringing up the issue with mutually exclusive predictions.

Cullion
21st April 10, 12:45 PM
Cullion,

You are awfully certain that you've got Dawkins' pegged well. Ever consider the possibility that he takes an intentionally extreme position to make a point?

Absolutely, it's just a noisy, retarded and obnoxious point that works counter to his position as Simonyi Professor to further the public understanding of science.

Espousing rationalism by being noisily irrational takes a special kind of stupid.

I think it would be a lot funnier if the whole internet took away his psychological crutches by reminding him that he only shouts at priests because he was once too pretty in shorts. That would be awesome.

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 12:58 PM
Religion can be considered an aspect of the environment individuals reproduce and survive in. Most arguments about the adaptive nature of religion can be as easily explained as humans being adapted to a religious environment. These aren't mutually exclusive of course, that's part of what I was introducing by bringing up the issue with mutually exclusive predictions.
That is 100% correct. Especially when you talk about the measures dealing with social engagement. Studies that show that people who attend church regularly are more professionally successful than their peers for example tend to focus on the social web that a church provides for professional connections.

However there are a a couple of very good reasons not to buy that as the sole cause. One is that besides the various correlations, there are also fairly clearly established psychological mechanisms by which religion reduces stress and promotes better mental attitudes. Another is that the general tendency is found regardless of the prevailing religious attitudes in the country. Another is the lack of evidence that other institutional social connections take the place of worship based ones in predominantly secular societies.

Of course you can just handwave it that all human societies are religious environments. But you of all people should recognize the weakness of insisting on an infinite amount of proof while providing no counter theory with any proof whatsoever.

Cullion
21st April 10, 01:02 PM
Presumably there have always been times when religious and non-religious societies existed. Which are more numerous, historically and now, and why ?

Upa sounds like a biologist trying to explain why tigers are more adaptive than cockroaches because they look cooler.

Commodore Pipes
21st April 10, 01:25 PM
Wow - a lot took place when I dashed out for a quick lunch and gun shopping, apparently.




You've heard of the 'God of the Gaps' hypothesis ? Dawkins' Gaps are filled with a set of all-powerful mathematical laws which he hopes to discover one day but he cannot yet see.

It's a profoundly mystical vision of the universe requiring real faith.




The 'yet' is what catches my eye. Maybe we need to define our terms*, but when I think of the typical 'invisible god' I think of a god that is more than not visible, but in some way profoundly unknowable.

Of course, if we are trying to get his goat, I imagine that "invisible machine god" is the phrase to do it. Perhaps some combination of the two?

"Was it the immutable will of the invisible machine god that you got a chubby when the headmaster diddled you?"




*BONER

Cullion
21st April 10, 01:32 PM
You know I should type* this out as a manifesto and nail it to his office door here in Oxford.

* Perhaps cut up newsprint and crayon would get his attention better ?

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 01:32 PM
Of course you can just handwave it that all human societies are religious environments. But you of all people should recognize the weakness of insisting on an infinite amount of proof while providing no counter theory with any proof whatsoever.

Your last sentence makes no sense in the context of what I've mentioned. In fact everything you've pointed out is consistent with humans being well adapted to religious environments but you seem to think that you're arguing for some alternative explanation to that. The issue is that you're conflating arguments across hierarchical levels.

Cullion
21st April 10, 01:33 PM
You're talking about this as if 'religious environment' was beyond human control, like sunlight, rather than something humans created, experimented with, and then all throughout history and to the present day decided to adopt by an overwhelming majority.

You might as well talk about 'spoken language environments'.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 01:34 PM
Presumably there have always been times when religious and non-religious societies existed. Which are more numerous, historically and now, and why ?

The latter question is indeed very interesting. Unfortunately evidence about the psychological health of individuals doesn't address it.




Upa sounds like a biologist trying to explain why tigers are more adaptive than cockroaches because they look cooler.

This is just stupid.

Cullion
21st April 10, 01:35 PM
Not at all. Perhaps my most recent post before this one makes it clearer.

I'd like to see you find a definition of 'individual mental health' regarding religion that has any evolutionary significance. 'Cos the Atheists aren't winning the reproduction battle.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 01:37 PM
You're talking about this as if 'religious environment' was beyond human control, like sunlight, rather than something humans created, experimented with, and then all throughout history and to the present day decided to adopt by an overwhelming majority.

Bullshit, organisms regularly manipulate aspects of their environment (even sunlight). That doesn't somehow prevent evolutionary responses to the manipulated environment nor in regards to the ability to manipulate.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 01:39 PM
Not at all. Perhaps my most recent post before this one makes it clearer.

It makes it clear you're wrong.



I'd like to see you find a definition of 'individual mental health' regarding religion that has any evolutionary significance. 'Cos the Atheists aren't winning the reproduction battle.

HOG is the one bringing up mental health and social engagement as evidence that religion is adaptive. Also, you're confused if you think I'm arguing something about atheists having some fitness advantage, that hasn't even been suggested.

Cullion
21st April 10, 01:40 PM
So why do humans manipulate their environment towards religion all over the world, in all kinds of conditions ? Why are those kinds of humans more successful in evolutionary terms ?

I'm arguing that atheists seem to have a massive disadvantage vis-a-vis the religious, based on population figures over time. That seems like very strong evidence that religious behaviour is somehow an evolutionary advantage.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 01:44 PM
So why do humans manipulate their environment towards religion all over the world, in all kinds of conditions ? Why are those kinds of humans more successful in evolutionary terms ?

You're still conflating things across levels.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 01:47 PM
There are two levels of questions from my perspective: why are religions ubiquitous and why are particular religions succesful? and why are particular individuals more successful than others in their social environment?

nihilist
21st April 10, 01:47 PM
So why do humans manipulate their environment towards religion all over the world, in all kinds of conditions ? Why are those kinds of humans more successful in evolutionary terms ?

I'm arguing that atheists seem to have a massive disadvantage vis-a-vis the religious, based on population figures over time. That seems like very strong evidence that religious behaviour is somehow an evolutionary advantage.

Especially when the religious idjits can and utilize the beneficial technology afforded to them almost exclusively by atheists.

Cullion
21st April 10, 01:51 PM
What beneficial technology are you referring to that was created by atheists?

Cullion
21st April 10, 01:52 PM
There are two levels of questions from my perspective: why are religions ubiquitous and why are particular religions succesful? and why are particular individuals more successful than others in their social environment?

What definition of individual success are you working with here?

nihilist
21st April 10, 01:54 PM
What beneficial technology are you referring to that was created by atheists?

It was all proven and discussed in that other thread.

I'm not going to spoon feed you this stuff.
You'll need to do your own research for once.

Craigypooh
21st April 10, 02:01 PM
I'm arguing that atheists seem to have a massive disadvantage vis-a-vis the religious, based on population figures over time. That seems like very strong evidence that religious behaviour is somehow an evolutionary advantage.

And it's a completely ridiculous argument.

Will you also argue that it's best to be Christian because there's more of them?

But hold on, ants aren't religious and there's more ants in the world than people.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 02:12 PM
I'm arguing that atheists seem to have a massive disadvantage vis-a-vis the religious, based on population figures over time.

Yes.


That seems like very strong evidence that religious behaviour is somehow an evolutionary advantage.

Yes, given our social environment.

Cullion
21st April 10, 02:12 PM
And it's a completely ridiculous argument.

Not in an evolutionary sense.



Will you also argue that it's best to be Christian because there's more of them?

In an evolutionary sense, yes. Otherwise it depends on your definition of 'best'. What is it ?



But hold on, ants aren't religious and there's more ants in the world than people.

You don't know want goes through an ants mind.

Truculent Sheep
21st April 10, 02:12 PM
The main problem with Dawkins is that he is an expert in his field but is famous for demagoguery in another. It's a bit like an English graduate claiming to be an authority on Botany because Shakespeare wrote a few poems about roses, or an Archaeologist claiming to know something about architecture because he does excavations on building sites.

Cullion
21st April 10, 02:13 PM
It was all proven and discussed in that other thread.

I'm not going to spoon feed you this stuff.
You'll need to do your own research for once.

You're on notice for trolling.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 02:14 PM
What definition of individual success are you working with here?

Well shitting out kids is the easiest way to estimate evolutionary fitness.

Cullion
21st April 10, 02:17 PM
Well, okay, but we're agreed on that. What other definitions of individual success do you think it makes more sense to compare atheism and religiosity to?

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 02:26 PM
Well, okay, but we're agreed on that. What other definitions of individual success do you think it makes more sense to compare atheism and religiosity to?

That's the only game that matters.

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 02:28 PM
Well shitting out kids is the easiest way to estimate evolutionary fitness.
Evolutionary fitness for the individual or the belief/meme? I feel like you are jumping all over the place.

The evolutionary advantage of a belief that makes people happier versus other beliefs is self evident.

If you are arguing reproductive fitness of the individuals having the belief, that is a different discussion. But not the one dawkins usually makes when he talks about memes.

Craigypooh
21st April 10, 02:44 PM
Not in an evolutionary sense.



In an evolutionary sense, yes. Otherwise it depends on your definition of 'best'. What is it ?



You don't know want goes through an ants mind.

So is there also an evolutionary advantage to being poor?

Cullion
21st April 10, 02:58 PM
Define 'poor'.

nihilist
21st April 10, 03:04 PM
The evolutionary advantage of a belief that makes people happier versus other beliefs is self evident.

Depends on if "being happy" is more important than preserving one's environment.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 03:30 PM
Evolutionary fitness for the individual or the belief/meme? I feel like you are jumping all over the place.

The evolutionary advantage of a belief that makes people happier versus other beliefs is self evident.

If you are arguing reproductive fitness of the individuals having the belief, that is a different discussion. But not the one dawkins usually makes when he talks about memes.

Actually it is you guys that are jumping all over the place. You are arguing that religion is adaptive based on arguments about how individuals do in our particular social environment. That does not demonstrate that religion is an adaptation, it demonstrates that humans are adapted to their social environment.

Comments about individual reproductive success have only been made because Cullion asked even though it isn't particularly relevant.

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 03:33 PM
Actually it is you guys that are jumping all over the place. You are arguing that religion is adaptive based on arguments about how individuals do in our particular social environment. That does not demonstrate that religion is an adaptation, it demonstrates that humans are adapted to their social environment.


Only if you assume that all human social environments are inherently religious and that religious is a binary yes/no factor. If you accept that religiousity as a continuum, then the existence of similar patterns across the continuum of human societies suggests that religion is the driving factor and not superior adaptation to norms.

Again, I'm not saying the proof is perfect. But it's compelling, and you haven't even presented a falsifiable counter argument.

nihilist
21st April 10, 03:51 PM
The parameters of "religious" being what, exactly?

Craigypooh
21st April 10, 04:01 PM
Define 'poor'.

Living on less than $2 per day.

Cullion
21st April 10, 04:03 PM
What are the local food costs? What are the local accomodation costs? Are their charity clinics nearby?

How many of my children survive to go on to reproduce ?

If the answer overall is 'yes they're still provided with sufficient material resources for the children to survive and turn each generations large brood into a long-term reproductive advantage over, say, middle-class urban westerners', then yes.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 04:04 PM
Only if you assume that all human social environments are inherently religious and that religious is a binary yes/no factor. If you accept that religiousity as a continuum, then the existence of similar patterns across the continuum of human societies suggests that religion is the driving factor and not superior adaptation to norms.

Again, I'm not saying the proof is perfect. But it's compelling, and you haven't even presented a falsifiable counter argument.

None of those assumptions are necessary from where I'm sitting, though I think the first would be a lock given the individual level measures you've suggested. If you tell me the studies you're referencing it would help, right now you stating that there were no differences in "success" across a continuum of religiousness is too vague to be helpful (and frankly sounds ridiculous).

Any way, my counter argument is that what you're describing fits that humans are adapted to their social environment.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 04:06 PM
So is there also an evolutionary advantage to being poor?

Not inherently but currently that certainly seems to be the case.

Cullion
21st April 10, 04:08 PM
Humans create their social environment and have had ample opportunities to change it throughout history. Think back to the French revolution and the conversion of Notre Dame to the 'Temple of Reason'. People just seem to keep coming back to myth.

I conjecture that most people just need some myth in their life, even some very intelligent people.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 04:10 PM
Any way, my counter argument is that what you're describing fits that humans are adapted to their social environment.

This is easily falsifiable by the way. In your studies showing "success" compare the success of those attending the majority church versus the minority churches across your range of societies. Sure a lot may be confounded there but no more than is there for your argument anyway.

nihilist
21st April 10, 04:13 PM
So is there also an evolutionary advantage to being poor?

In America that is certainly the case.


All a poor person needs to do is hold a piece of cardboard to make a living.

This gives him or her the ability to purchase alcohol which we all know to be the chief cause of offspring.

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 04:14 PM
Humans create their social environment and have had ample opportunities to change it throughout history. Think back to the French revolution and the conversion of Notre Dame to the 'Temple of Reason'. People just seem to keep coming back to myth.

I conjecture that most people just need some myth in their life, even some very intelligent people.

I actually agree with your conclusion. However even if we look at the Soviet efforts to repress religion, the cultural legacy never went away (you can rename and secularize it but St. Basil was still in Red Square) and the religious practices never left.

nihilist
21st April 10, 04:21 PM
Countries with high rates of organic atheism are among the most societally healthy on earth, while societies with nonexistent rates of organic atheism are among the most destitute.

Cullion
21st April 10, 04:22 PM
I actually agree with your conclusion. However even if we look at the Soviet efforts to repress religion, the cultural legacy never went away (you can rename and secularize it but St. Basil was still in Red Square) and the religious practices never left.

Quite so. My contention is that Dawkins is using his position as Professor for the Public Understanding of Science to try and rip away something that's not only harmless, but of actual psychological comfort (and possibly actual social utility) because he himself is disturbed about an incident of childhood sexual abuse.

I don't believe much good will come of this and I hope his peers make this clear to him. I don't believe he's actually doing much to enthuse and enlighten the populace about science either.

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 04:22 PM
None of those assumptions are necessary from where I'm sitting, though I think the first would be a lock given the individual level measures you've suggested. If you tell me the studies you're referencing it would help, right now you stating that there were no differences in "success" across a continuum of religiousness is too vague to be helpful (and frankly sounds ridiculous).

Any way, my counter argument is that what you're describing fits that humans are adapted to their social environment.
It's hard to reference "the studies" since I don't necessarily have particular ones in mind. This is a topic I've kept up with as a hobbyist for more than 20 years, so I've literally read hundreds. This one (http://publications.cpa-apc.org/media.php?mid=793&xwm=true) that I just found will do for starting the discussion.

As far as the adaptation to society goes. I have read many studies where the health/happiness benefit being researched was broken down by religion, and in the vast majority of those cases, there was little if any difference between the effect among the different religious groups. Whereas there were strong "dose dependent" effects. So even minority religions seem to offer the benefits, and they are tied to participation and emotional investment and not just membership.

Cullion
21st April 10, 04:24 PM
Countries with high rates of organic atheism are among the most societally healthy on earth, while societies with nonexistent rates of organic atheism are among the most destitute.

How do you define societal health and 'organic' atheism ?

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 04:26 PM
How do you define societal health and 'organic' atheism ?
He means that saudi arabia counts and china and russia don't.

He's also possibly referencing a particular (debunked) study that even cherry picked beyond that by including the US and a bunch of northern european countries and noone else so that the effect of the US dysfunction was statistically significant even though there was no other correlation on any of the the datapoints.

nihilist
21st April 10, 04:27 PM
1. lowest homicide rates, infant mortality rates, poverty rates, and illiteracy rates and among the highest levels of wealth, life expectancy, educational attainment, and gender equality

2. Atheism of free will.

Cullion
21st April 10, 04:31 PM
1. lowest homicide rates, infant mortality rates, poverty rates, and illiteracy rates and among the highest levels of wealth, life expectancy, educational attainment

How do we measure and weight these factors against each other when one factor is very good, another not so good?

Are we excluding Arabian oil states ? Japan ?



2. Atheism of free will.

What does a country have to do to qualify for this ?

nihilist
21st April 10, 04:38 PM
How do we measure and weight these factors against each other when one factor is very good, another not so good?

Are we excluding Arabian oil states ? Japan ?

What kind of free will exists in those countries?



What does a country have to do to qualify for this ?

Just put all countries on a curve and it will become apparent.

Cullion
21st April 10, 04:40 PM
What kind of free will exists in those countries?

Japan's a democracy where you can buy used panties from vending machines.



Just put all countries on a curve and it will become apparent.

A curve of what?

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 04:42 PM
Just put all countries on a curve and it will become apparent.
Actually it isn't. Your curve looks more like a hedge of spikes. You think it's smooth because you are thinking about the west versus all those poor countries, or possibly the US versus western europe, but when you look within those broad groupings that values are scattered all over the place.

Edit: Here is the study I mentioned and one of the critical reviews.

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html
http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2006/2006-1.html

Vieux Normand
21st April 10, 04:43 PM
Japan's a democracy where you can buy used panties from vending machines.

A curve of what?

Used panties?

Cullion
21st April 10, 04:45 PM
oh god yes.

Vieux Normand
21st April 10, 05:02 PM
oh god yes.

Just an FYI: Japanese girls are, as a rule, uncommonly clean. Their panties are unlikely to give off much--if any--of the expected atmospheric effect. Depending on your tastes, this may be either a plus or a minus.

Cullion
21st April 10, 05:05 PM
I appreciate subtlety. Quality over quantity every time. What do you mistake me for, an American?

UpaLumpa
21st April 10, 05:06 PM
I have read many studies where the health/happiness benefit being researched was broken down by religion, and in the vast majority of those cases, there was little if any difference between the effect among the different religious groups. Whereas there were strong "dose dependent" effects. So even minority religions seem to offer the benefits, and they are tied to participation and emotional investment and not just membership.

I'll take a look at what you posted and find relevant sources from it.
As for the minority religion aspect recall that your earlier posts were also about success via networking. "Happiness" is an altogether different thing.

HappyOldGuy
21st April 10, 05:12 PM
I'll take a look at what you posted and find relevant sources from it.
As for the minority religion aspect recall that your earlier posts were about success via networking. "Happiness" is an altogether different thing.

I said, the material success was probably mostly associated with the networking effect. However one of the peculiar things is that when we look at non religiously active people, I don't see any obvious replacement going on. They don't go out and join the elks instead of church. Instead they seem to be less connected in general.

That honestly surprises me. It's one of the gotchas I don't have an answer for.

Cullion
21st April 10, 05:22 PM
An observation I made in British society that might surprise you or might not, but I think it has some bearing on HOGs observations about material success.

Of the universities I've attended, the most prestigious (i.e. most stringent entry standards and highest academic reputation) was the one that had the largest proportion of religious people (defined as people who regularly attend a religious service of some kind, out of choice, without family pressure being immediately present).

I conjecture, based on seeing these people's other lifestyle choices, that observant religious people have a psychological structure in their lives which tends to help keep them purposeful and 'clean living'.

Drug use and excessive drinking were very, very much less prevalent amongst the Anglicans/Episcopalians I'm referring to, than amongst the general late teens/early 20-something population of the UK in my experience.

I suspect this helped them 'self select' their way into the prestigious place out of proportion with their prevalence in the population as a whole.

At the least prestigious university I've studied at, I don't recall meeting anybody religious at all, with the exception of some immigrants who had language issues and were therefore held back from by a different factor.

Keith
22nd April 10, 04:35 AM
That's because I didn't state one.
Yes you did.

And you didn't ask for it.
I certainly did.

From post #82 in this thread, posted by you:

I'm extensively trained in formal logic and you simply don't know what you're talking about. To convince yourself, try and construct a formal proof of anything discussed here, and I will demolish it for you formally and mathematically.

From post #80 in this thread posted by me:

Most of the phenomena that we did not understand in the past can now be described by physics.
Further phenomena that we don't currently understand will probably be described by some physics eventually.

You asked for a proof of anything we discussed, my proof was of something we discussed (almost word for word in fact). Iím not going to go scouring over my previous posts to try and figure out WTF youíre talking about when you say that Iíve already postulated something when I donít believe I have. If thereís something I said that you want me to prove or elaborate upon, ask for it. This is just you being an ass.

To be fair, I have confused formal logic with reasoning to some degree. However, if reasoning is excluded as a valid method of reaching a conclusion, the logical consequence is that all empirical knowledge is illogical (which is why I qualified my statements with ďprobablyĒ). I doubt you really believe this.

Cullion
22nd April 10, 04:45 AM
Please at least skim the literature I suggest and then we'll get back to this. I think you're confused about the difference between 'proof' and 'likelihood based on what I 've seen so far', and the difference between 'metaphysics' and 'physics'.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
22nd April 10, 06:18 AM
If Dawkins didnt exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

Keith
22nd April 10, 06:28 AM
Please at least skim the literature I suggest and then we'll get back to this. I think you're confused about the difference between 'proof' and 'likelihood based on what I 've seen so far', and the difference between 'metaphysics' and 'physics'.

I have.

I learned basic logic in a critical thinking class, we were taught deductive and inductive reasoning right after one another. Since both can be put into "form" it was simply confusion on my part of what you meant by "formal" logic.

I do understand the difference between physics and metaphysics, you're just splitting a very fine line between where you consider Dawkins' beliefs to go from physical to metaphysical, and I don't necessarily agree.

HappyOldGuy
22nd April 10, 12:07 PM
Somebody posted this on another forum. Posting it here as it's really interesting and semi relevant.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100.html

It's a talk rather than an academic paper, so I'm not swearing to the facts, but it doesn't contradict anything I've read before.

Cullion
22nd April 10, 05:22 PM
I have.

I learned basic logic in a critical thinking class, we were taught deductive and inductive reasoning right after one another. Since both can be put into "form" it was simply confusion on my part of what you meant by "formal" logic.

I do understand the difference between physics and metaphysics, you're just splitting a very fine line between where you consider Dawkins' beliefs to go from physical to metaphysical, and I don't necessarily agree.

I know you don't agree, but that's because you don't understand what metaphysics is. It's not possible for a human not to have metaphysical beliefs. Dawkins has simply elevated his to religious status by dint of wanting to exterminate the alternatives. One of the easiest ways to do this is to be blithely unaware when a belief is metaphysical in nature.

Ajamil
22nd April 10, 06:54 PM
As for the minority religion aspect recall that your earlier posts were also about success via networking. "Happiness" is an altogether different thing.My gut feeling and brief knowledge of religious beginnings would have me say minority religions would have a less extensive network, but a much more bonded one.

EuropIan
22nd April 10, 08:52 PM
Cullion's anti-science polemic reeks of post modernist ambiguity.


Autochton, the Great Machine God, Giver of Tools and Doctrine, shall surely smite him for this.

EuropIan
22nd April 10, 11:16 PM
Also, lets conveniently ignores Dawkins' polemic in the face of phrases like "Fucking magnets, how do they work?"

OvmvxAcT_Yc

Commodore Pipes
22nd April 10, 11:17 PM
Don't ask those science-ass lying motherfuckers.

Doritosaurus Chex
23rd April 10, 01:39 AM
Don't ask those science-ass lying motherfuckers.

http://i268.photobucket.com/albums/jj21/Yukant_Seame/u-mad1.jpg

EuropIan
23rd April 10, 01:44 AM
Also Pelicans eating Cellphones is fucking magic

Doritosaurus Chex
23rd April 10, 01:54 AM
I hope you never wonder why you look like your dad. That might blow your mind.

EuropIan
23rd April 10, 01:55 AM
Cuz magic, duh.

nihilist
23rd April 10, 01:59 AM
Fuckin' uteruses.

Commodore Pipes
23rd April 10, 09:07 AM
We got a theory, like, we got a theory, about paint chips, and our mothers.

Doritosaurus Chex
23rd April 10, 10:49 AM
Cuz magic, duh.

Actually, this is categorized under miracle.

Ajamil
23rd April 10, 11:36 AM
Huh. I just watched the miracles video for the first time. Was the Tower of Babel symbol intentional or beautiful irony?

Cullion
23rd April 10, 01:05 PM
Cullion's anti-science polemic reeks of post modernist ambiguity.

I know what I know, and I know what I don't know. I think. You know ?

EuropIan
23rd April 10, 01:48 PM
I know what I know, and I know what I don't know. I think. You know ?
That's a thing I'll keep in the the back of my head
WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO

mZ2yc5x7VhE

Keith
24th April 10, 12:49 AM
I know you don't agree, but that's because you don't understand what metaphysics is. It's not possible for a human not to have metaphysical beliefs.

In the end, metaphysics is only a word. What it is and is not depends on how it is defined; how the population in general lumps some ideas as being metaphysical and some as not.

Things of course, go deeper than just not being able to not have metaphysical beliefs. You've said before that something to the effect of "The universe follows mathematical principles" is a metaphysical belief because is implies causation beyond itself, which is unprovable and beyond the universe, and metaphysical. If this is true, the same logical principles would apply to all statements. "A" would imply a cause for A, perhaps B. B would in turn imply a cause, so on and so forth until the system regresses to the point where a cause is unprovable. An unprovable cause could only be a belief, and an unprovable belief in causation would be metaphysical. Since A is derived from a metaphysical cause, A would be metaphysical. This is true for all statements.

The logical consequence of this line of reasoning is that all human knowledge, every last bit of it, is metaphysical. I don't think this is what is meant by "metaphysical" or "metaphysics" (which usually only includes explicit speculation into the nature of reality, rather than the implied) for once this term can be used to describe anything, it becomes meaningless.

Formal logic (deductive reasoning) works nice for things like computer programing or intellectual wankery, but once applied to the real world it becomes impractical and unwieldy. Most, probably all, of your knowledge is empirical and would never stand up being expressed as a formal proof. The level of certainty required usually leads you to things like questioning existence, rather than workable answers to questions that affect you. Simply being reasonable (inductive reasoning) is usually the better option.


Dawkins has simply elevated his to religious status by dint of wanting to exterminate the alternatives. One of the easiest ways to do this is to be blithely unaware when a belief is metaphysical in nature.

You keep coming back to this point, that Dawkins wants to eliminate alternate schools of thought, but you've never really explained what this has to do with making his beliefs religious, rather just making him an asshole.

bob
24th April 10, 02:07 AM
Cullion thinks all religious people are assholes. Duh.

Cullion
24th April 10, 06:48 AM
In the end, metaphysics is only a word. What it is and is not depends on how it is defined; how the population in general lumps some ideas as being metaphysical and some as not.

Things of course, go deeper than just not being able to not have metaphysical beliefs. You've said before that something to the effect of "The universe follows mathematical principles" is a metaphysical belief because is implies causation beyond itself, which is unprovable and beyond the universe, and metaphysical.

Yes.



If this is true, the same logical principles would apply to all statements. "A" would imply a cause for A, perhaps B. B would in turn imply a cause, so on and so forth until the system regresses to the point where a cause is unprovable. An unprovable cause could only be a belief, and an unprovable belief in causation would be metaphysical. Since A is derived from a metaphysical cause, A would be metaphysical. This is true for all statements. The logical consequence of this line of reasoning is that all human knowledge, every last bit of it, is metaphysical.

Yes and no. A person's metaphysical beliefs are the unprovable axioms his reasoning rests upon, this isn't quite the same as saying all parts of every chain of reasoning are 'metaphysics'.



I don't think this is what is meant by "metaphysical" or "metaphysics" (which usually only includes explicit speculation into the nature of reality, rather than the implied) for once this term can be used to describe anything, it becomes meaningless.

No, that's not what's happening. You live in a world of observed phenomena. You have current perceptions, and memories. You can use reason to prove things from this data.

What you imagine will happen tomorrow, in distant places and times beyond your observation, and which observations of your own and others you choose to accept and reject, depend ultimately on metaphysical beliefs you use to form your reasoning with.

'The universe follows unchanging laws which can be mathematically described' is one possible metaphysical belief.



Formal logic (deductive reasoning) works nice for things like computer programing or intellectual wankery, but once applied to the real world it becomes impractical and unwieldy. Most, probably all, of your knowledge is empirical and would never stand up being expressed as a formal proof. The level of certainty required usually leads you to things like questioning existence, rather than workable answers to questions that affect you. Simply being reasonable (inductive reasoning) is usually the better option.

It falls apart for trying to explore reality at certain levels in much the same way as 'common sense' isn't much use for exploring the structure of the atom, or the motion of distant stars. If it's all you used, your perception of reality would be as limited as one of the inmates of Plato's Cave.



You keep coming back to this point, that Dawkins wants to eliminate alternate schools of thought, but you've never really explained what this has to do with making his beliefs religious, rather just making him an asshole.

He's doing this because holds unprovable belief with religious certainty and is evangelising them like a missionary. His invisible machine god is as much of a driving force as Yahweh or Allah are for others. The invisble machine god and 'reason' are not the same thing. That's why Dawkins just makes up wildly unscientific and unhistorical things in defence of his faith.

nihilist
24th April 10, 06:58 AM
I know what I know, and I know what I don't know. I think. You know ?
Donald disagrees.

Keith
24th April 10, 11:51 AM
Yes and no.

After the direction the argument took, there's no fucking way I'm going to let you get away with something like this. Pick one and support it.


A person's metaphysical beliefs are the unprovable axioms his reasoning rests upon, this isn't quite the same as saying all parts of every chain of reasoning are 'metaphysics'.

If I'm doing physics and I empirically discover some sort of physical law, say:
E=ρJ
and decide it's a bit too cumbersome, so I derive something less general, but more useful, say:
E=IR
The second one is still physics, and will still be physics no matter how many derivations I take it through.

If ALL my reasoning RESTS upon unprovable axioms, i.e. metaphysical beliefs, then how can it all NOT be metaphysical? None of it is ultimately provable and it all requires belief.




I propose: You can make a technical argument that the belief 'The universe follows unchanging laws which can be mathematically described' is metaphysical, but this fact is inconsequential.



No, that's not what's happening. You live in a world of observed phenomena. You have current perceptions, and memories. You can use reason to prove things from this data.(bold added)

Cullion, you're a really smart guy and I'd probably enjoy having a beer or 3 with you sometime, but this is the point where I really have to say: fuck you. You chastised me in a rather condescending way about knowing the meaning of certain words in a technical sense, one of which is the word bolded here. These words have different meanings in a formal and informal environment, and when you switch between the two meanings freely, don't get your fucking panties in a bunch when other people don't always follow which meaning you're using at any given time.


It falls apart for trying to explore reality at certain levels in much the same way as 'common sense' isn't much use for exploring the structure of the atom, or the motion of distant stars. If it's all you used, your perception of reality would be as limited as one of the inmates of Plato's Cave.

The behaviors of atoms and stars are approximated with mathematics (which is different from logic), and the approximations always contain error. We can minimize the error to an acceptable level, sometimes to an amazing extent, but the known presence of error certainly disqualifies physics (and indeed all conclusions derived from empirical data) as deductive reasoning.

We're all inmates in Plato's Cave, always have been, always will be. The only escape is in your mind.



He's doing this because holds unprovable belief with religious certainty and is evangelising them like a missionary. His invisible machine god is as much of a driving force as Yahweh or Allah are for others. The invisble machine god and 'reason' are not the same thing. That's why Dawkins just makes up wildly unscientific and unhistorical things in defence of his faith.

Dawkins could certainly be said to be unreasonable, but not all unreasonable beliefs are religious.

For Dawkins to be religious, "invisible machine god" must be a religion. This is what you need to support, not how emphatically he believes in it.

edited because after 10 years of electronics I couldn't remember Ohm's Law

Ajamil
24th April 10, 11:58 AM
What do you think is missing from the religion? Ritual? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method)

EuropIan
24th April 10, 12:04 PM
Heuristics is a form of dogma?

That's stretching it.

Keith
24th April 10, 12:19 PM
What do you think is missing from the religion? Ritual? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method)

I want someone to show that "invisible machine god" (or what ever religion you want to say Dawkins believes in) meets a set of criteria that other religious beliefs also meet, and non-religious beliefs do not.

For example: if you say Dawkins believes X, Y and Z and I can show Islam doesn't fit Y, then it's out. Or if I can show Marxism also meets X, Y and Z, then it's out.

HappyOldGuy
24th April 10, 01:01 PM
I want someone to show that "invisible machine god" (or what ever religion you want to say Dawkins believes in) meets a set of criteria that other religious beliefs also meet, and non-religious beliefs do not.

For example: if you say Dawkins believes X, Y and Z and I can show Islam doesn't fit Y, then it's out. Or if I can show Marxism also meets X, Y and Z, then it's out.

Definition arguments get stupid fast. And defintions of religion even more so than most. All definitions of religion run into boundary problems. If belief in a god is necessary, then you exclude Jainism, some Buddhism, and various smaller sects who self identify as religious and get together to practice rituals. If belief in a god is not necessary, then you start to add in various sorts of highly formal embracing ideologies like marxism (and I would include dawkins style atheism). This is especially true if you look at religion as something that has a function, rather than as a thing just to be observed.

When I say that dawkins has made atheism into a religion, I am talking about the latter. He uses his lack of belief as his source for meaning in the world by imagining the world as something flawed that can be made whole by exterminating religion. So he feels connected to something larger than himself by crusading for the destruction of religion. And it's not just that he uses his atheism for purposes that are typically religious. It's also that he uses tactics that are typically religious. He perpetuates myths of oppression which are meant to solidify the community of believers. He has invented a theodicy (religion as toxic meme) that presents his answer to the problem of evil and that imagines a sort of secular eschatology.

Here is a very popular sort of baseline functionalist definition for religion.


A religion is: (1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.

http://www.colorado.edu/ReligiousStudies/chernus/4800/GeertzSummary.htm

Keith
24th April 10, 01:16 PM
Definition arguments get stupid fast. And defintions of religion even more so than most. All definitions of religion run into boundary problems. If belief in a god is necessary, then you exclude Jainism, some Buddhism, and various smaller sects who self identify as religious and get together to practice rituals. If belief in a god is not necessary, then you start to add in various sorts of highly formal embracing ideologies like marxism (and I would include dawkins style atheism). This is especially true if you look at religion as something that has a function, rather than as a thing just to be observed.

When I say that dawkins has made atheism into a religion, I am talking about the latter.

Well played sir.

Cullion
24th April 10, 01:37 PM
After the direction the argument took, there's no fucking way I'm going to let you get away with something like this. Pick one and support it.

I'm explaining the imprecision in your statement by breaking down the categories for you.



If I'm doing physics and I empirically discover some sort of physical law, say:
E=ρJ
and decide it's a bit too cumbersome, so I derive something less general, but more useful, say:
E=IR
The second one is still physics, and will still be physics no matter how many derivations I take it through.

You still don't understand. There is no point at which physics stops being physics. The belief that there exists a mathematical framework which will always hold true is the metaphysical part.



If ALL my reasoning RESTS upon unprovable axioms, i.e. metaphysical beliefs, then how can it all NOT be metaphysical? None of it is ultimately provable and it all requires belief.

Not all your reasoning does follow from metaphysical assumptions. If you deduce a law describing, say, the temperature you expect ice to melt at for a given pressure, from your observations, and declare 'this fits all of my observations', then this is not metaphysical. It's the assumption that this law holds everywhere at all times in the unobserved past and the future which is metaphysical.



I propose: You can make a technical argument that the belief 'The universe follows unchanging laws which can be mathematically described' is metaphysical, but this fact is inconsequential.

It's not inconsequential, because it's central to your whole perception of how the universe works, and it's the basis on which Dawkins not only rabidly attacks all the other religions, but is actually motivated to invent things in a completely unscientific manner.



Cullion, you're a really smart guy and I'd probably enjoy having a beer or 3 with you sometime, but this is the point where I really have to say: fuck you. You chastised me in a rather condescending way about knowing the meaning of certain words in a technical sense, one of which is the word bolded here. These words have different meanings in a formal and informal environment, and when you switch between the two meanings freely, don't get your fucking panties in a bunch when other people don't always follow which meaning you're using at any given time.

It doesn't matter how angry you get, you didn't understand the subject at hand.
If you keep not understanding it, I'll keep pointing it out to you. If I wanted to troll you I would simply have mocked you instead of providing you references.



The behaviors of atoms and stars are approximated with mathematics (which is different from logic), and the approximations always contain error. We can minimize the error to an acceptable level, sometimes to an amazing extent, but the known presence of error certainly disqualifies physics (and indeed all conclusions derived from empirical data) as deductive reasoning.

No, this isn't a metaphysical argument, this is a physical argument which is true for somebody completely rooted in a certain metaphysic. They're simply saying 'we might not have gotten the law exactly right yet, and our instruments can never be perfect, but we're sure that one exists'. The part in italics is the metaphysical statement.



We're all inmates in Plato's Cave, always have been, always will be. The only escape is in our minds.

Light breaks over the horizon!



Dawkins could certainly be said to be unreasonable, but not all unreasonable beliefs are religious.

His are. I'll go further than HOG here. See below.



For Dawkins to be religious, "invisible machine god" must be a religion. This is what you need to support, not how emphatically he believes in it.

i) It makes assertions about the true and permanent nature of the universe which cannot be proved and hence rely on faith.

ii) It's zealous adherents cannot tell the difference between it and 'objective truth'. They cannot distinguish it from 'reason', or if reason is used to deconstruct it they react with annoyance, simple incomprehension or disbelief.

iii) The most zealous members are convinced that all other metaphysical belief systems should be destroyed. To the extent that they're willing to violate reason and their treasured scientific method in order to try and achieve this, by making up things which support their belief system but which can and have been empirically demonstrated to be untrue.

iv) Their belief system provides them with answers to questions completely beyond the reach of the scientific method, e.g. 'What happens to our consciousness when we die?'.

v) It's followers have made temples to it, and celebrated feasts :-

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ad/F%C3%AAte_de_la_Raison_1793.jpg

Dawkins is essentially a revivalist preacher of this enlightenment faith.

EuropIan
24th April 10, 01:46 PM
Cullion, are you talking about logical positivism?

A lot of your critique could be interpreted as a critique of this.

Cullion
24th April 10, 01:55 PM
I'm not specifically talking about that, no. It's only been around since the late 1920s. I'm thinking of a broader category of metaphysical belief which share the traits I've listed so far, and I include the 'Temples of Reason' of revolutionary France within this movement.

EuropIan
24th April 10, 01:57 PM
We all know the Temples of Reason was some dudes scheme to get chicks.

EuropIan
24th April 10, 02:00 PM
Cullion and Popper, sitting in a tree

k-i-s-s-i-i-n-g..

Cullion
24th April 10, 02:09 PM
Cut it out.

Keith
24th April 10, 03:31 PM
It doesn't matter how angry you get, you didn't understand the subject at hand.
If you keep not understanding it, I'll keep pointing it out to you. If I wanted to troll you I would simply have mocked you instead of providing you references.

You said in regards to deductive vs. inductive reasoning:

No, that's not what's happening. You live in a world of observed phenomena. You have current perceptions, and memories. You can use reason to prove things from this data.

Observed phenomena, perception and memories are all subject to error and uncertainty. You cannot prove anything from them formally (garbage in = garbage out) unless you have changed the definition of proof to include inductive reasoning instead of only strict formal logic.

What I object to is the strict insistence on precise technical meaning to the point of not letting discussion go any further until such precise definition is clearly understood, and then discarding that precise definition arbitrarily once it is no longer convenient.



i) It makes assertions about the true and permanent nature of the universe which cannot be proved and hence rely on faith.

ii) It's zealous adherents cannot tell the difference between it and 'objective truth'. They cannot distinguish it from 'reason', or if reason is used to deconstruct it they react with annoyance, simple incomprehension or disbelief.

iii) The most zealous members are convinced that all other metaphysical belief systems should be destroyed. To the extent that they're willing to violate reason and their treasured scientific method in order to try and achieve this, by making up things which support their belief system but which can and have been empirically demonstrated to be untrue.

iv) Their belief system provides them with answers to questions completely beyond the reach of the scientific method, e.g. 'What happens to our consciousness when we die?'.

v) It's followers have made temples to it, and celebrated feasts :-

Just to be clear, are all of these items necessary to be considered religion? If only some of them, which ones?


Light breaks over the horizon!

Weíve yet to see if it is the illuminating sun of Truth, or just more of the flickering torches of our captors.

Cullion
24th April 10, 06:18 PM
Observed phenomena, perception and memories are all subject to error and uncertainty.

You cannot prove anything from them formally (garbage in = garbage out) unless you have changed the definition of proof to include inductive reasoning instead of only strict formal logic.

Yes, you can prove things about them, because all you're doing is finding patterns in a dataset. You can test any pattern you propose for consistency over that dataset, and therefore have falsifiability. Falsifiability allows proof.



What I object to is the strict insistence on precise technical meaning to the point of not letting discussion go any further until such precise definition is clearly understood, and then discarding that precise definition arbitrarily once it is no longer convenient.

That's not what I'm doing.



Just to be clear, are all of these items necessary to be considered religion? If only some of them, which ones?

I can see why you're so offended by the very idea of a universe that isn't solidly rooted in all-encompassing and unchanging law.

Why don't you tell me what's missing which might prevent the Church of the Invisible Machine God being a religion?

Keith
24th April 10, 06:24 PM
I can see why you're so offended by the very idea of a universe that isn't solidly rooted in all-encompassing and unchanging law.

You have completely misconstrued my reasons for engaging in this argument.


Why don't you tell me what's missing which might prevent the Church of the Invisible Machine God being a religion?

I just wanted to make sure that you're satisfied with all your points.


iii) The most zealous members are convinced that all other metaphysical belief systems should be destroyed. To the extent that they're willing to violate reason and their treasured scientific method in order to try and achieve this, by making up things which support their belief system but which can and have been empirically demonstrated to be untrue.

Zen Buddhism does not conform to this.

Cullion
24th April 10, 06:29 PM
Well, if your point is that Dawkins' version of The Church of the Invisible Machine God is more obnoxious and missionary in nature than Zen Buddhism, then I agree.

EuropIan
24th April 10, 06:30 PM
Keith, to get where Cullion is coming from, check out Karl Popper and critical rationalism.

Keith
24th April 10, 06:33 PM
Well, if your point is that Dawkins' version of The Church of the Invisible Machine God is more obnoxious and missionary in nature than Zen Buddhism, then I agree.

My point is that at least one religion doesn't conform to your provided description of religion. Either your point iii is indicative of a religion, or it isn't.

Cullion
24th April 10, 06:42 PM
My point is that at least one religion doesn't conform to your provided description of religion. Either your point iii is indicative of a religion, or it isn't.

It's indicative of a evangelism. Not all religions are evangelical (but most pass through it as a stage, including Zen Buddhism), but evangelism is a feature of many religions, often the most destructive and obnoxious ones.

Keith
24th April 10, 06:45 PM
It's indicative of a evangelism. Not all religions are evangelical, but evangelism is a feature of many religions, often the most destructive and obnoxious ones.
But evangelism is not a necessary element of of religion, just a common one. And it is not exclusive to religion, as people have been evangelical about non-religious things. Do you agree?

Cullion
24th April 10, 06:50 PM
Nobody said evangelism was a necessary element of a religion, it's just something the Church of the Invisible Machine God happens to practice at the moment, just like Buddhism and Judaism used to and Christianity and Islam still do.

Keith
24th April 10, 06:52 PM
Nobody said evangelism was a necessary element of a religion, it's just something the Church of the Invisible Machine God happens to practice at the moment, just like Buddhism and Judaism used to and Christianity and Islam still do.

Can you please pair down your points to the necessary elements then?

Cullion
24th April 10, 07:02 PM
What doubt remains for you that Dawkins' is preaching a religion?

Keith
24th April 10, 07:06 PM
What doubt remains for you that Dawkins' is preaching a religion?
It doesn't smell right.

EuropIan
24th April 10, 07:10 PM
By the same standards marxism and other allincompassing ideologies could be interpreted as such, sure.

Keith
24th April 10, 07:11 PM
By the same standards marxism and other allincompassing ideologies could be interpreted as such, sure.
This, too, remains to be seen.

Cullion
24th April 10, 07:14 PM
By the same standards marxism and other allincompassing ideologies could be interpreted as such, sure.

Marxism's a denomination of the Church of the Invisible Machine God.

EuropIan
24th April 10, 07:16 PM
Autochton, Giver of Tools and Doctrine, likes it when you address him by name.

Keith
24th April 10, 07:17 PM
Marxism's a denomination of the Church of the Invisible Machine God.
I imagine you can support this too?

Cullion
24th April 10, 07:45 PM
Yes, it's a materialistic all-encompassing conception of the universe and man's place within it that claims moral certainties, the objective truth of materialistic rationalism (which it then warps counter-empirically) is missionary and antagonistic towards other faiths, and spawned it's own counter-factual dogmas in self-defence, such as Lysenkoism. It also has annual festivals (like Lenin's birthday and Labour Day).

It very much shares a heritage with the 'enlightenment' ideals espoused by the French revolutionaries who turn Notre Dame in to a 'Temple of Reason'.

Keith
24th April 10, 10:13 PM
Yes, it's a materialistic all-encompassing conception of the universe and man's place within it that claims moral certainties, the objective truth of materialistic rationalism (which it then warps counter-empirically) is missionary and antagonistic towards other faiths, and spawned it's own counter-factual dogmas in self-defence, such as Lysenkoism. It also has annual festivals (like Lenin's birthday and Labour Day).

It very much shares a heritage with the 'enlightenment' ideals espoused by the French revolutionaries who turn Notre Dame in to a 'Temple of Reason'.

How about teabaggers?

This is what doesn't quite smell right. You're including things in religion that aren't normally considered religioous. I would still like to see the criteria you're measuring against to determine if a specific belief system is religious or not.

Cullion
24th April 10, 10:16 PM
I think a lot of teabaggers are religious (mostly Christian), but I don't think the 'teabagger' philosophy itself includes a prescription for the nature of the universe.

HappyOldGuy
25th April 10, 01:22 AM
The teabaggers are not (generally) making universal statements, and not (generally) answering questions about meaning. They are actually pretty grounded in concrete realities in their own retard way. I don't see eschatology and the end of evil.

nihilist
25th April 10, 11:57 AM
' Teabagger' is synonymous with white Christian racism.
(generally)

Keith
25th April 10, 06:21 PM
What if the teabaggers started shooting people who disagreed with them?

Commodore Pipes
25th April 10, 09:45 PM
Well... if the Tea Party coalsced into a distinct denomination of the Pat-Robertson style Christianity (specifically American, imperial, and absurdly draconian) that many of its partisans adhere to, yeah, you might have a point. But right now you can be methodist and a tea partier, or a congregationalist and a tea-partier, so I don't think it really counts.

That might be a poor definition, but I don't see the Tea Party subsuming the individual member's religious identification. Not that it should be about self-identity, but... Tea Party is dealing with more pedestrian matters, even if they are willing to kill for them.

Although... you could make a lot of arguments about, say, antebellum Southern gentlemen more closely identifying with a "cult of honor" than with their own ostensible religious identity.

AAAhmed46
25th April 10, 09:51 PM
If he wasn't a professor, i would still like him better than hitchens.

Kein Haar
25th April 10, 10:46 PM
What if the teabaggers started shooting people who disagreed with them?

Keith,

This is my new sig.

HappyOldGuy
25th April 10, 11:12 PM
Keith,

This is my new sig.

I have a feeling that this one is gonna lose lulzworthiness sometime within the next 6 months.

Keith
25th April 10, 11:22 PM
I have a feeling that this one is gonna lose lulzworthiness sometime within the next 6 months.
I hope not, but I kinda get that feeling too.

nihilist
27th April 10, 02:34 AM
What if the teabaggers actually started teabagging?

EuropIan
27th April 10, 02:59 AM
What if the teabaggers actually started teabagging?
Only after successful a frag.

EuropIan
28th April 10, 09:34 PM
Cullion, I have a question about your "invisible machine god".

How does it differ from scientific naturalism?

Cullion
29th April 10, 02:00 AM
What I'm calling the 'cult of the Invisible Machine God' goes much further than Scientific Naturalism, and in it's extremes becomes profoundly unscientific.

It tends to come clustered with social views that don't have much to do with 'science' one way or the other (but tend mark a self-conscious and often noisy and crass rejection of the prior religious norms of the host society), and it explicitly involves stamping out competing faiths. Perhaps most important, is the believers willingness to say demonstrably untrue things in an attempt to promote 'reason'.

An example would be the Lysenkoism of Stalin's-era. Dawkins has said a few things which are so plainly counter-factual that they qualify.

The French revolutionary 'Temples of Reason' were clear examples of this cult at work.

Keith
29th April 10, 04:04 AM
An example would be the Lysenkoism of Stalin's-era. Dawkins has said a few things which are so plainly counter-factual that they qualify.
Can you give examples?

Cullion
29th April 10, 06:36 AM
A universe with a God would look quite different from a universe without one. A physics, a biology where there is a God is bound to look different. So the most basic claims of religion are scientific. Religion is a scientific theory.

-- This is just a non-sequitur. It depends on ones definition of God. Even Stephen Hawking is a deist.


There is no doubt that, as a matter of fact, Stalin was an atheist. . . . But there is no evidence that his atheism motivated his brutality.

I think there are some elderly Russian Orthodox clergy, Rabbis and muslim imams who may differ.

nihilist
29th April 10, 12:18 PM
People believe all sorts of crap.

It's called I M A G I N A T I O N.

Cullion
29th April 10, 06:25 PM
Yeah, but some people aren't sure what's made up and what isn't. Luckily, I'm here.

nihilist
29th April 10, 06:48 PM
Your presumptions are made up. Luckily I'm here to remind you of that.

Ajamil
29th April 10, 07:02 PM
Are you saying there's a possibility that either one of you is real?

nihilist
29th April 10, 08:08 PM
In order not to be a pretentious twat, one must suffer under the notion that everything one believes could be wrong.

HappyOldGuy
29th April 10, 08:40 PM
In order not to be a pretentious twat, one must suffer under the notion that everything one believes could be wrong.

Life is full of choices.

Ajamil
29th April 10, 08:50 PM
I just make sure what I believe in is wrong from the start, then carry on with a confidence like no other.

nihilist
29th April 10, 10:52 PM
Life is full of choices.Then again, you could be wrong.

Cullion
30th April 10, 03:56 AM
Your presumptions are made up. Luckily I'm here to remind you of that.

I already know that. Or do I?

nihilist
30th April 10, 04:06 AM
I'm sure I don't know.

EuropIan
30th April 10, 04:11 AM
or do you?

nihilist
30th April 10, 04:27 AM
or do you?
a1Y73sPHKxw

Tyrsmann
30th April 10, 05:32 PM
http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/File:Atheist_motivational_poster.jpg

Just because I can. BTW NSFW

Cullion
30th April 10, 05:41 PM
depends where you work.

Tyrsmann
30th April 10, 05:57 PM
depends where you work.

But it's a penis with the face of Dawkins photoshopped onto it.

How is that not NSFW?

EuropIan
30th April 10, 05:59 PM
If you work with it, how can it be "not safe for work"?

Cullion
30th April 10, 06:04 PM
But it's a penis with the face of Dawkins photoshopped onto it.

How is that not NSFW?

I could show that to everybody I work with including the CEO and just get a laugh.