Religion wins again

This Forum is the main messageboard to discuss all things Claret and Blue and beyond
# 251
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:37 pm

Wills, when I talk about faith in the scientific method I am talking the answers and explanations given regarding the nature and origins of this world and of ourselves as well. There is an acceptance that the 'scientific' way of knowing is the way of knowing. You speak of 'everything we know of biology' but that is not the same as 'we know everything'. Personally, I doubt the resurrection of Christ but I don't think biology disproves it happened, it just proves it was exceptional, which is what Christianity claims. The question must arise as to whether the laws of the universe we are given are absolute and unbreakable. To accept that this is so is an act of faith. Why should I believe that to be true?

As for the atrocities committed in the name of religion, what is usually happening is people for political and personal reasons behaving in a manner that is utterly opposed to the absolute values we have faith in (and possibly knowledge of as well). When they do this they often turn to religion to justify the unjustifiable. Others use secular philosophies for the same purpose.

Equally, however, we can see how religion can give justification for positive actions as well. In India, religious leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and Narayana Guru were at the forefront of the most effective campaigns to liberate people from the iniquities of caste- and gender-based oppression; and used religious arguments to underpin their cause. Religion is huge and diverse, so general statements and using selective examples gives a rather misleading picture.

# 252
willsclarets
Posts: 855
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:06 am
Been Liked: 314 times
Has Liked: 51 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby willsclarets » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:55 pm

That's exactly what I mean - there is no such thing as a scientific "way of knowing" there's only a scientific way of "finding out", which is to go out of your way to prove yourself wrong until you can't do it. Religion doesn't do that at all, and as you say, claims exception to those rules. As David Hume says "What is more likely, that the laws of nature has been suspended in your favour, or that you've made a mistake?" Laws of nature or science can be challenged at any time with another scientist who has a theory that fits the explanation of phenomena more accurately. Now I know I said "everything we know about biology" - what I should I said was "everything we currently know about biology".
This user liked this post: Greenmile

# 253
GodIsADeeJay81
Posts: 3351
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:55 am
Been Liked: 636 times
Has Liked: 1415 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby GodIsADeeJay81 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:06 pm

Colburn_Claret wrote:
I can understand why people don't believe, but I can't understand anyone being anti religion. It isn't religions that are wrong, just some of the messengers. You are blaming religion for wars, and hatred, when nothing could be further from the truth. Because some Zealots try to twist the words of God isn't religions fault.



The zealots are the ones who've been running the religions yet they're the ones apparently closest to god...

# 254
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:57 pm

And there is also a religious way of finding out, which works differently and finds out different things.

The reason I joined in this discussion was because I felt there was a group of posters trying to damage the faith of others. Why would anyone do that? Is it really because you have compassion and want to bring them greater joy? To help them? It seemed that several of the posts, particularly those speaking of god-botherers and the sky fairy, were based simply on malice.

This is the opposite to one of the expressions of religion I have found most inspiring: "Never displaying malice towards any living being through actions, thoughts or words; acts of kindness; giving in charity; this is the Sanatana Dharma adhered to by righteous persons". This is also religion, taken from the Mahabharata one of India's great scriptures.
This user liked this post: Jakubclaret

# 255
Spiral
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:37 am
Been Liked: 806 times
Has Liked: 176 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Spiral » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:49 pm

Erasmus wrote:The reason I joined in this discussion was because I felt there was a group of posters trying to damage the faith of others. Why would anyone do that? Is it really because you have compassion and want to bring them greater joy? To help them? It seemed that several of the posts, particularly those speaking of god-botherers and the sky fairy, were based simply on malice.


Oh please, take a look a post #1. Perhaps if some groups of muslims weren't living in the middle ages this discussion wouldn't be happening on this messageboard today.
These 2 users liked this post: Lord Beamish Greenmile

# 256
GodIsADeeJay81
Posts: 3351
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:55 am
Been Liked: 636 times
Has Liked: 1415 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby GodIsADeeJay81 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:03 pm

Erasmus wrote:And there is also a religious way of finding out, which works differently and finds out different things.

The reason I joined in this discussion was because I felt there was a group of posters trying to damage the faith of others. Why would anyone do that? Is it really because you have compassion and want to bring them greater joy? To help them? It seemed that several of the posts, particularly those speaking of god-botherers and the sky fairy, were based simply on malice.

This is the opposite to one of the expressions of religion I have found most inspiring: "Never displaying malice towards any living being through actions, thoughts or words; acts of kindness; giving in charity; this is the Sanatana Dharma adhered to by righteous persons". This is also religion, taken from the Mahabharata one of India's great scriptures.


It isn't about bringing joy when I talk about religion, far from it.

Religion is imposed on others, before they've even been given the chance to choose.

Some realize eventually that there are other ways to spend their free time, others find solace in it and majority of believer's live their lives by it.

Those of us who choose not to believe in it for various reasons are harangued, or far worse, because of our atheism.
Religion shouldn't be the mainstay of any society in this day and age, in my opinion.
It's done a lot of good but also some bad.

If it was truly a gift from God then it wouldn't be used in the manner that it is quite simply.
This user liked this post: Falcon

# 257
willsclarets
Posts: 855
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:06 am
Been Liked: 314 times
Has Liked: 51 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby willsclarets » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:30 pm

My motivation isn't malice or compassion Erasmus, I care about truth, I care about bad ideas being used to hurt other people and I'm interested in why people believe in a very specific version (or versions) of reality that seems so at odds with what we know about the universe. What I find is people will willingly and reasonably defend their faith in a non-specific God, but will rarely engage at all with the ideas or specifics of organised religion. And that's because it's more difficult to be evidentially revisionist about things that are asserted in a very old book, but also because it's easier to just pick the bits that don't reflect badly on that religion and disown the rest.

# 258
willsclarets
Posts: 855
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:06 am
Been Liked: 314 times
Has Liked: 51 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby willsclarets » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:40 pm

For instance, I'm genuinely interested in why people think we are so important in the grand scheme of things. The monotheistic religions puts us right at the heart of the universe, everything revolves around us and our existence which is a relative speck on the timeline. We barely made it as a species, and spent thousands of years dying of rotten teeth and in child birth before finally flourishing.
And our tiny pathetic planet is in a tiny solar system with no other planets showing signs of life, in a relatively small solar system of billion of stars like our Sun, in a Universe bigger than we can comprehend. And yet our Gods seem concerned with what we eat and who we sleep with?
These 2 users liked this post: GodIsADeeJay81 Lord Beamish

# 259
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:45 pm

It depends on how you use the old book. In too many cases the books are insisted upon as absolute authority that must be obeyed. But ideally they should be used as helpers as you try to consider what is important. At the end of the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna simply says 'Think about all this carefully, and then act as you think is best.' Religious books can be a great source of inspiration for an inquiring mind, it is when they are taken as absolute authority that they are problematic.

And again you speak of 'what we know', which raises further philosophical questions about how we know what we know. Our knowledge is limited by our capacity to free ourselves from emotional ties and is also limited by our capacity to know things. Perhaps there are some things that are beyond the purview of our intellectual capacity. So I think we should be suspicious of all forms of 'knowing', religious or otherwise, as they may well be incomplete and hence misleading.

# 260
Greenmile
Posts: 2135
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:50 pm
Been Liked: 662 times
Has Liked: 2201 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Greenmile » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:49 pm

Erasmus wrote:And there is also a religious way of finding out, which works differently and finds out different things.

The reason I joined in this discussion was because I felt there was a group of posters trying to damage the faith of others. Why would anyone do that? Is it really because you have compassion and want to bring them greater joy? To help them? It seemed that several of the posts, particularly those speaking of god-botherers and the sky fairy, were based simply on malice.

This is the opposite to one of the expressions of religion I have found most inspiring: "Never displaying malice towards any living being through actions, thoughts or words; acts of kindness; giving in charity; this is the Sanatana Dharma adhered to by righteous persons". This is also religion, taken from the Mahabharata one of India's great scriptures.


Here's one of my favourite bits of Christian scripture - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (doesn't work for sex-pests or masochists, but is generally a decent rule to live life by - certainly one of the better bits in the bible)

If I was suffering from delusions that were entirely unsupported by observable evidence, I would want someone to try to snap me out of it - it's the people who would be happy to feed my delusions that would be the malicious ones.

# 261
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:49 pm

More likely people are concerned with what we eat and who we sleep with and so they put words into the mouth God to strengthen their arguments.

In the Mahabharata again, it says that there can be no absolute rules of life because every situation is different. There is a single precept; dharma is what is beneficial for all living beings, and it is up to us to use our intelligence and integrity to determine how to implement that precept in each given situation. This is also religion.

# 262
Greenmile
Posts: 2135
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:50 pm
Been Liked: 662 times
Has Liked: 2201 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Greenmile » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:50 pm

Erasmus wrote:It depends on how you use the old book. In too many cases the books are insisted upon as absolute authority that must be obeyed. But ideally they should be used as helpers as you try to consider what is important. At the end of the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna simply says 'Think about all this carefully, and then act as you think is best.' Religious books can be a great source of inspiration for an inquiring mind, it is when they are taken as absolute authority that they are problematic.

And again you speak of 'what we know', which raises further philosophical questions about how we know what we know. Our knowledge is limited by our capacity to free ourselves from emotional ties and is also limited by our capacity to know things. Perhaps there are some things that are beyond the purview of our intellectual capacity. So I think we should be suspicious of all forms of 'knowing', religious or otherwise, as they may well be incomplete and hence misleading.


Science doesn't claim any sort of complete knowledge - that's something only religion does.

# 263
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:56 pm

Greenmile, you are then confining yourself to observable evidence, but it may well be that there is such a thing as unobservable evidence. And of course what we observe is determined to some degree by the nature of the observer and the preconceptions of the observer.

So how do we determine who is deluded and who is not? Can we be so sure that we are not the deluded ones? After all, the opinions, views and certainties we hold as the known are to a large degree shaped by the culture we have grown up in and the emotional make up of our personality. What is obvious to us may be to ridiculous to someone else who is acculturated differently. How do we know we are right, except by a leap of faith.

# 264
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:57 pm

And again this claim of seeking to help the deluded might be seen as a form of self-delusion to present a motive that is more acceptable to our sense of who we are.

# 265
GodIsADeeJay81
Posts: 3351
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:55 am
Been Liked: 636 times
Has Liked: 1415 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby GodIsADeeJay81 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:58 pm

Apparently Jesus wasn't deluded nor are the people working for organised religion, but the people who wander the streets proclaiming they're Jesus or talk to his old man are deluded...

# 266
Greenmile
Posts: 2135
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:50 pm
Been Liked: 662 times
Has Liked: 2201 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Greenmile » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:02 pm

Erasmus wrote:Greenmile, you are then confining yourself to observable evidence, but it may well be that there is such a thing as unobservable evidence. And of course what we observe is determined to some degree by the nature of the observer and the preconceptions of the observer.

So how do we determine who is deluded and who is not? Can we be so sure that we are not the deluded ones? After all, the opinions, views and certainties we hold as the known are to a large degree shaped by the culture we have grown up in and the emotional make up of our personality. What is obvious to us may be to ridiculous to someone else who is acculturated differently. How do we know we are right, except by a leap of faith.


It's quite simple.

If you can't observe or measure it, it isn't evidence.

If you live your life based on stuff that can't be evidenced, you're deluded.

Please don't let this become a ringo-type thread where we debate the meaning of "evidence" for weeks on end :)
These 2 users liked this post: GodIsADeeJay81 Lord Beamish

# 267
aggi
Posts: 4508
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:31 am
Been Liked: 1096 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby aggi » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:12 pm

It would be an interesting question to compare the good that has been done in the name of religion against the bad that's been done in the name of religion.

I couldn't really say which would come out on top.

# 268
Lancasterclaret
Posts: 15369
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:09 pm
Been Liked: 4967 times
Has Liked: 2814 times
Location: Riding the galactic winds in my X-wing

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Lancasterclaret » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:14 pm

I could.

Religion has done untold damage worldwide, from Roman times onwards.

# 269
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:24 pm

Greenmile, you are right we must avoid that discussion. I think the point is that we can confine ourselves to observable realities, whilst noting the limitations of observation as a source of truth. But then we leave open the possibility of there being a vast sphere of the unobservable, which may be just as real but beyond our present range of perception. It is impossible to say whether or not such a sphere of reality exist, although there may be a means of expanding our power of observation at an individual level.

I am sorry about this, but the idea that only the observable is evidence cannot be accepted. We have to have ethics, and we have to be able to make statements such as 'Killing children is wrong', but these are in essence statements of faith even though we 'know' them to be true. But you are probably right and this is branch of the discussion that should not be taken further.

# 270
GodIsADeeJay81
Posts: 3351
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:55 am
Been Liked: 636 times
Has Liked: 1415 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby GodIsADeeJay81 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:58 pm

I don't need religion to tell me killing children is wrong, nor many other things, especially as there are comments in the Bible about killing everyone, Inc children.

# 271
Jakubclaret
Posts: 1506
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:47 pm
Been Liked: 189 times
Has Liked: 154 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Jakubclaret » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:30 pm

At the end of the day you believe in a god or you don't & you think religion is a load of b*llock* or you don't, maybe I'm over thinking & things aren't so simple.

# 272
Greenmile
Posts: 2135
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:50 pm
Been Liked: 662 times
Has Liked: 2201 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Greenmile » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:13 pm

Erasmus wrote:Greenmile, you are right we must avoid that discussion. I think the point is that we can confine ourselves to observable realities, whilst noting the limitations of observation as a source of truth. But then we leave open the possibility of there being a vast sphere of the unobservable, which may be just as real but beyond our present range of perception. It is impossible to say whether or not such a sphere of reality exist...


Agree 100% with this

Erasmus wrote:...although there may be a means of expanding our power of observation at an individual level.


...and then you lose me here. Something is observable or it isn't. If an individual observes something that humanity as a whole (or "science", if you will) can't, then that individual is deluded, particularly if they then make life-choices based on those observations.


Erasmus wrote:I am sorry about this, but the idea that only the observable is evidence cannot be accepted. We have to have ethics, and we have to be able to make statements such as 'Killing children is wrong', but these are in essence statements of faith even though we 'know' them to be true. But you are probably right and this is branch of the discussion that should not be taken further.


This idea that we need religion to have any morality is one of the things that worries me most about the truly religious. Do they mean to say that all humans are innately disposed to do evil, as long as they think there's no eternal consequences? because that says a lot more about them than it does atheists.
These 2 users liked this post: GodIsADeeJay81 Lord Beamish

# 273
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:07 pm

Knowledge gained through observation isn't just about sensory perception, it's also about the interpretation of what is observed. Only in this way can perception be translated into knowledge. But as we see from the long debates about Brexit the process of interpretation is shaped considerably by emotional factors or personality types. All may be observing the same phenomenon, but the knowledge gained from that perception will be very different.

Our ability to gain true knowledge from perception is perverted by our desires, egotism, prejudices and biases. In the academic fields, one scholar may devise a theory and because of egotism or emotional attachment he will be unable to get reliable knowledge from his observations; attachment breeds distortion. So the more one frees oneself from such prejudices and emotional attachments the more one is able to gain a purer form of knowledge from observation.

In Indian religion, we also find the view that knowledge can come intuitively from within as well as from without. This stems from the notion of an inner divinity which is inherently filled with knowledge. This inherent knowledge is obscured by what is known as mala, which is selfish desire, greed, anger, hatred etc. If this mala is removed then the light of knowledge shines from within. I have no idea if there is anything in this idea, but I have to accept that it may be true, as I have nothing to disprove it with.

The second of your objections arises from my poor explanation. What I was talking about was really the view of the logical positive school of thought, that of A.J. Ayer and others. In their view valid knowledge can come only from verifiable observation and rational argument. Hence both religious and ethical statements are logically meaningless because they cannot be proved by rational argument. This relegates statements such 'Killing children is wrong' to the level of faith because they cannot be demonstrated by reasoned argument; it is an emotional response but not knowledge.

And it is true that I cannot present an absolutely cogent ethical argument to demonstrate that point, but nonetheless I know absolutely that killing children is wrong. In that sense my faith in an ethical value has become a form of knowledge that is not provable.

I would never say that only religious people have morals. Such a view is self-evidently ridiculous. In fact religious people are often found to be substantially devoid of morals because they rely on a set of preordained rules that transcend human ethics. Hence Gandhi's view that if the statement of a 'holy book' contravenes our sense of justice and morality, it is the book that must be 'expurgated' not our sense of morality. Although again that very sense of morality will often be perverted by prejudice and selfish desire.

Sorry to go on so much but your comments sparked my interest.
These 3 users liked this post: GodIsADeeJay81 Imploding Turtle longsidepies

# 274
Greenmile
Posts: 2135
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:50 pm
Been Liked: 662 times
Has Liked: 2201 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Greenmile » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:55 pm

Erasmus wrote:Knowledge gained through observation isn't just about sensory perception, it's also about the interpretation of what is observed. Only in this way can perception be translated into knowledge. But as we see from the long debates about Brexit the process of interpretation is shaped considerably by emotional factors or personality types. All may be observing the same phenomenon, but the knowledge gained from that perception will be very different.

Our ability to gain true knowledge from perception is perverted by our desires, egotism, prejudices and biases. In the academic fields, one scholar may devise a theory and because of egotism or emotional attachment he will be unable to get reliable knowledge from his observations; attachment breeds distortion. So the more one frees oneself from such prejudices and emotional attachments the more one is able to gain a purer form of knowledge from observation.

In Indian religion, we also find the view that knowledge can come intuitively from within as well as from without. This stems from the notion of an inner divinity which is inherently filled with knowledge. This inherent knowledge is obscured by what is known as mala, which is selfish desire, greed, anger, hatred etc. If this mala is removed then the light of knowledge shines from within. I have no idea if there is anything in this idea, but I have to accept that it may be true, as I have nothing to disprove it with.

The second of your objections arises from my poor explanation. What I was talking about was really the view of the logical positive school of thought, that of A.J. Ayer and others. In their view valid knowledge can come only from verifiable observation and rational argument. Hence both religious and ethical statements are logically meaningless because they cannot be proved by rational argument. This relegates statements such 'Killing children is wrong' to the level of faith because they cannot be demonstrated by reasoned argument; it is an emotional response but not knowledge.

And it is true that I cannot present an absolutely cogent ethical argument to demonstrate that point, but nonetheless I know absolutely that killing children is wrong. In that sense my faith in an ethical value has become a form of knowledge that is not provable.

I would never say that only religious people have morals. Such a view is self-evidently ridiculous. In fact religious people are often found to be substantially devoid of morals because they rely on a set of preordained rules that transcend human ethics. Hence Gandhi's view that if the statement of a 'holy book' contravenes our sense of justice and morality, it is the book that must be 'expurgated' not our sense of morality. Although again that very sense of morality will often be perverted by prejudice and selfish desire.

Sorry to go on so much but your comments sparked my interest.


Good post.

I don’t have time to address it all right now, but the statement that “killing children is wrong” can be demonstrated by reasoned argument without having to resort to an emotional appeal.

Evolutionary biology explains why we have an inbuilt tendency to protect defenceless members of our family (a strong biological urge) and our species (less strong but still present) in order to continue the propagation of our own genes. The younger someone is, the more “value” they have, genetically, because they have more potential to reproduce in the future.

If you consider the fact that we have evolved to live alongside one another in societies, this can be extended to pretty much all “moral” statements. It’s all about protecting and extending our genetic influence when you get to the bottom of things.

It’s because it’s part of how we’ve evolved that these instincts seem so natural and feel like they come from “within us” (ie “mala”, if I’ve understood the meaning of that word correctly). They do, not in some kind of woolly religious sense, but one that can be entirely explained by science.

I’ve probably not explained this very well. I’d recommend “the Selfish Gene” by Dawkins - he’s a bit of an abrasive nob when talking about religion (and various other things), but he knows his stuff and is very readable when it comes to evolutionary biology. Incidentally, I believe it was that book where he coined the term “meme”.

# 275
Imploding Turtle
Posts: 19639
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:12 am
Been Liked: 5349 times
Has Liked: 2478 times
Location: Burnley, Lancs

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Imploding Turtle » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:16 pm

I wonder who will be the first to read Erasmus' great post and only read from it that Erasmus thinks that there's nothing wrong with killing children.

# 276
willsclarets
Posts: 855
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:06 am
Been Liked: 314 times
Has Liked: 51 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby willsclarets » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:46 pm

Erasmus wrote:Knowledge gained through observation isn't just about sensory perception, it's also about the interpretation of what is observed. Only in this way can perception be translated into knowledge. But as we see from the long debates about Brexit the process of interpretation is shaped considerably by emotional factors or personality types. All may be observing the same phenomenon, but the knowledge gained from that perception will be very different.

Our ability to gain true knowledge from perception is perverted by our desires, egotism, prejudices and biases. In the academic fields, one scholar may devise a theory and because of egotism or emotional attachment he will be unable to get reliable knowledge from his observations; attachment breeds distortion. So the more one frees oneself from such prejudices and emotional attachments the more one is able to gain a purer form of knowledge from observation.


I understand what you're saying, but you can't compare something as subjective as Brexit with observable phenomena in the natural world. You seem to be saying that there's no version of a reality that can be favoured as more true than another because man is flawed. I do agree with your assertion that perception can be shaped by individual bias and emotional attachment, but would you say that applies more to those using scientific process or those who believe in the supernatural and divine order? Evidence via biological process or observable physical laws, while not perfect, are the best explanations we have to try and understand the world around us and beyond (including why we value morality).

# 277
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:17 pm

Greenmile, I can understand your point about our sense of morality being a product of evolution, but I don't think it can give a full explanation. Otherwise, wouldn't all human gravitate naturally towards a common standard of morality, which is clearly not the case. Our values differ markedly because we are not governed purely by evolutionary factors. We also have the capacity as individuals to think and reflect.

As for Dawkins, I have read his work and he strikes me as a perfect example of a person whose ability to make an objective analysis is distorted by an emotional longing for his theories to be correct. I think he was brought up in a strict Christian family and I strongly suspect that this must have had an effect on the way he observes and rationalises. It is also clear that although he writes a lot about religion, he really has no idea what he is talking about in this field; he needs to study the subject properly before putting pen to paper. As it stands his ideas in that area seem a bit silly.

Wills, what I personally feel about the respective validity of scientific or supernatural explanations of the world is unreliable. My natural instincts don't come from pure wisdom but have been ingrained in me by my upbringing. Hence I don't trust my own instincts as I realise that to a large extent they are imposed upon me by the secular culture I grew up in. What appears ridiculous to me would appear to be perfectly reasonable if I had grown up in a different cultural environment.

I remember years ago talking to the then Mayor of Preston, a Hindu, and he told me that when he is living in Preston all that supernatural stuff seems ridiculous, but when he stays for a while in India he gradually begins to accept supernatural explanations because they are implicit in the pervasive culture he is then inhabiting. So I am instinctively secular in my world view, but at the same time I can see that this world view is a relative attribute and not in any way a conduit towards the truth.

# 278
willsclarets
Posts: 855
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:06 am
Been Liked: 314 times
Has Liked: 51 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby willsclarets » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:38 pm

Erasmus wrote:Hence I don't trust my own instincts as I realise that to a large extent they are imposed upon me by the secular culture I grew up in. What appears ridiculous to me would appear to be perfectly reasonable if I had grown up in a different cultural environment.

I remember years ago talking to the then Mayor of Preston, a Hindu, and he told me that when he is living in Preston all that supernatural stuff seems ridiculous, but when he stays for a while in India he gradually begins to accept supernatural explanations because they are implicit in the pervasive culture he is then inhabiting. So I am instinctively secular in my world view, but at the same time I can see that this world view is a relative attribute and not in any way a conduit towards the truth.


Ok this is where we differ hugely. I completely agree that beliefs are heavily influenced by culture and geographic location, which is why a religion of choice is almost wholly dependent on where someone was born. But this to me is a wonderful distillation of why science gives us a more objective truth than supernatural superstition. It doesn't matter where I'm stood on the planet, Newton's Laws of Motion work perfectly.
This user liked this post: Greenmile

# 279
GodIsADeeJay81
Posts: 3351
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:55 am
Been Liked: 636 times
Has Liked: 1415 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby GodIsADeeJay81 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:58 pm

Am I reading that right?

The then Mayor of Preston has more belief of the supernatural when he's over in India, a heavily religious/spiritual country, for a decent length of time, but not when he's back over here?

I suppose that's what happens when you take someone out of certain environments.

# 280
Greenmile
Posts: 2135
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:50 pm
Been Liked: 662 times
Has Liked: 2201 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Greenmile » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:29 pm

Erasmus wrote:Greenmile, I can understand your point about our sense of morality being a product of evolution, but I don't think it can give a full explanation. Otherwise, wouldn't all human gravitate naturally towards a common standard of morality, which is clearly not the case. Our values differ markedly because we are not governed purely by evolutionary factors. We also have the capacity as individuals to think and reflect.

As for Dawkins, I have read his work and he strikes me as a perfect example of a person whose ability to make an objective analysis is distorted by an emotional longing for his theories to be correct. I think he was brought up in a strict Christian family and I strongly suspect that this must have had an effect on the way he observes and rationalises. It is also clear that although he writes a lot about religion, he really has no idea what he is talking about in this field; he needs to study the subject properly before putting pen to paper. As it stands his ideas in that area seem a bit silly...


Wills has addressed the scond half of your post, so I'll have a go at the first bit.

Biological evolution doesn't tell the whole story re human morality - you have to consider societal evolution, too. Of course the big moral issues like murder being wrong are almost universally acknowledged, as they have roots in biological evolution, but less clear-cut stuff like the age of consent, capital / corporal punishment or attitudes towards racism and homophobia are not biologically ingrained (obviously, as we can see that some of these have changed markedly in this country alone in the last century or so, which is far too short a timescale for biological evolution to take place), but a reflection of sociological factors - this is still science, though.

In fact, your argument here seems to be going against the wider point you're trying to make. If morality was imbued in us by a god we would expect to see all humans gravitate towards a common standard - as it isn't, this suggests that the points where folk differ relate to the society they grew up in.

However, each of those societies has "evolved" in a non-genetic sense - to stretch the analogy to breaking point, it's like each society is a different species (as societies can diversify and "evolve" much quicker than people can). Different species do have very different "moral codes" eg many will eat their own offspring if they don't seem strong enough to survive - I think we could agree that this would be frowned upon by most humans :)

Re Dawkins, I said myself he can be a nob when discussing religion (although I would add that your claim that he hadn't studied religion properly is ludicrous). However, he is a well-respected authority when it comes to genetics and evolution, and it's his ideas in that field that I was trying to point you towards.
This user liked this post: willsclarets

# 281
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:47 pm

Wills, yes you are right we can observe the laws of physics operating anywhere in the world. But then the question arises as to whether these laws are absolute and unbreakable, and that is where the cultural conditioning comes in. We will regard such laws as absolute, people conditioned by different cultures will regard exceptions to those laws as possible. Moreover, these laws take us only so far. They don't offer an absolute explanation of the origins and development of the law. They give rise to theories but not unassailable explanations.

Greenmile, if we move from the idea of evolutionary determinism to societal determinism then the argument certainly becomes stronger and I would agree that for the most part the values we hold are imposed upon us by the societal, familial and cultural environment. But I don't think that this deterministic view can be taken as absolute. Despite the weight of environmental conditioning, I still think there is such a thing as the individual and that the individual can become free of that conditioning at least to some extent. Otherwise, how could we explain people who share the same evolutionary and societal position coming to differing views on morality? But overall I agree with you that the sense of being a free-thinking individual (which we hold so dear) is a wild exaggeration, although not entirely false. I hope not anyway.

# 282
GodIsADeeJay81
Posts: 3351
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:55 am
Been Liked: 636 times
Has Liked: 1415 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby GodIsADeeJay81 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:58 pm

So you're claiming our current laws of physics don't offer an absolute?
Science would agree with you, as it's always evolving etc, cultural conditioning has nothing to do with the answers science can, and does, give us, or have I misread that part of your post?

Religion tries to offer an absolute in the form of God and won't brook the idea that they're wrong.

I agree about people ending up different to their cultural conditioning, but that is what makes us human, the ability to be different from each other.
We aren't made in the image of a god because we are so different from each other.

# 283
Erasmus
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm
Been Liked: 354 times
Has Liked: 27 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby Erasmus » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:01 pm

Yes, science does not and probably cannot give us a complete explanation. What is dependent on culture is the extent to which we rely on science for explanations of the world. We are conditioned to do that and so we will tend to accept answers scientists give, although we ourselves don't fully understand them

The statement I do disagree with is 'Religion tries to offer an absolute in the form of God and won't brook the idea that they're wrong.' For one thing, any statement that generalises about religion as a whole is bound to be flawed, because religion is so diverse. Jains and Buddhists, for example, overtly reject the idea of God, as do several strands of Hindu religious thought. They are also religion. Jains adhere to a doctrine known as syadvada, which states that the truth is never absolute because what is viewed as truth is relative to the position of the viewer. Hence there are no absolutes

What you are condemning as 'religion' is really the fundamentalist strands of religion, which are noisy and somewhat irritating but by no means fully represent what religion is. That is the error I have found Dawkins always makes, which is why I say he has little real understanding of the phenomenon of religion as a whole.

# 284
GodIsADeeJay81
Posts: 3351
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:55 am
Been Liked: 636 times
Has Liked: 1415 times

Re: Religion wins again

Postby GodIsADeeJay81 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:04 pm

He focuses on the noisy religions, because they're the most troublesome in this world.

On the flip side you're focusing primarily on the non deity ones.


Return to “The Bee Hole End”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Cajun, cav, CleggHall, Devils_Advocate, Goobs, Google [Bot], Herts Clarets, Jakubclaret, MSN [Bot], pauliopaulio, slw, Wile E Coyote and 173 guests