Respect for Religion
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15-12-2012, 09:23 PM
RE: Respect for Religion
Thank you Ghost, and to a point, I agree with you. If religion were separate from our shared culture and did no demonstrable harm, I'd question folks, but only from curiosity. But we SHARE our culture, our towns, our schools, and our government, religion (and not just the Abrahamic ones) has shown itself to be divisive, to enable/incite violence, to reward bigotry and punish acceptance, and to cause great harm. Humans, all of us, are worth more than that, my neighbors are worth more than that, my kids deserve more from their school, and I deserve to live in a world where thought is free.

I don't wish to tell people how to think, but I sure as Cylon will ask them what they think and why. And I, obviously, have no problem sharing my thoughts.

Not to mix our nerdoms too much, what with Trek and BSG on the table, but intellectual prisons will fall when the questions are asked.
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15-12-2012, 09:33 PM
RE: Respect for Religion
(15-12-2012 09:07 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

1 - Quite clearly I said idea.

2 - Your issue seems to be with cultural relativity and the idea of socially constructed reality. If you reject either of those ideas, we will not agree on anything. Which is what it is. I'm just pointing out where the disconnect is.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Yes, I disagree that all of reality is socially constructed. Reality belies that idea.
Like I said, not having a socially-constructed concept of blood group won't protect you from blood group mismatch. Dead is dead.

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15-12-2012, 10:58 PM (This post was last modified: 16-12-2012 12:33 AM by fstratzero.)
RE: Respect for Religion
(15-12-2012 09:07 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

1 - Quite clearly I said idea.

2 - Your issue seems to be with cultural relativity and the idea of socially constructed reality. If you reject either of those ideas, we will not agree on anything. Which is what it is. I'm just pointing out where the disconnect is.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt




I say respect the individuals, but I do not respect the things that cause harm to society.

*Cultural relativity
"civilization is not something absolute, but ... is relative, and ... our
ideas and conceptions are true only so far as our civilization goes"

*The Social Construction of Reality
is that persons and groups
interacting in a social system create, over time, concepts or mental
representations of each other's actions, and that these concepts
eventually become habituated into reciprocal roles played by the actors
in relation to each other. When these roles are made available to other
members of society to enter into and play out, the reciprocal
interactions are said to be institutionalised. In the process of this
institutionalisation, meaning is embedded in society. Knowledge and
people's conception (and belief) of what reality is becomes embedded in
the institutional fabric of society. Reality is therefore said to be
socially constructed.

I disagree with both of those points. One can choose to reject societal institutionalization, and cultural relativism would hold that if my culture says the moon is orange then it's as valid as the scientific evidence.

So no we will always be on opposite side of the fence.

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16-12-2012, 07:51 AM
RE: Respect for Religion
Hey, fst.

Reject if you must. But it's something that is supported by mountains of evidence. You may want to learn more about it before you make your final decision.

Hey, Chas.

The notion of constructed reality comes from an in depth study of how human cognition and human society function. So why would some things be constructed and others not? That makes no sense. It's like saying some blood is pumped by the heart, but not all.

When constructed ideas are viewed or presented as the only truth, as seemingly self-evident, that "received wisdom", what is viewed as the common sense view, is nothing more than am ideological position that has been naturalised by hegemony. It's seems true. It's an illusion that we fall victim to. But as Hamlet said, "Seems, madam? Nay, I know not seems."

Hey, ScienceGeek.

While you do share some cultural traits (like being an American) you primarilly share a cultural environment. Like how lions and hyenas and leopards and crocodiles and African wild dogs share a biological environment. Just as their genetic traits are different, your cultural traits are different.

Multiculturalism is the global reality of the 21st century.

As in all things in politics, we cannot ever allow one special interest group to have power over the others, so absolutely, we must strive for balance, diversity and freedom of thought, but none of that changes the fact that telling people how to think is an act of domination; one with a long history of associated atrocity.

There's nothing wrong with sharing thoughts. Memetic flow is actually important and healthy. But getting to know someone's beliefs and sharing your own are much different things than forcing someone to think the way you want them to, or thinking of them as foolish children because they view the world differently than you do.

The idea that one culture is superior to all the others is as baseless as the idea that one race is superior to all the others. The attempt to make one dominant is equally disastrous.

I agree fellow geek, intellectual prisons will fall when we allow ourselves to return to the discourse rather than cling tenaciously to ideology. Two ideologies that I work tirelessly to deconstruct are the ideologies of cultural superiority and objective truth. They are the biggest road bloxks to mutual cultural respect.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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16-12-2012, 09:13 AM
RE: Respect for Religion
(16-12-2012 07:51 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

The notion of constructed reality comes from an in depth study of how human cognition and human society function. So why would some things be constructed and others not? That makes no sense. It's like saying some blood is pumped by the heart, but not all.

When constructed ideas are viewed or presented as the only truth, as seemingly self-evident, that "received wisdom", what is viewed as the common sense view, is nothing more than am ideological position that has been naturalised by hegemony. It's seems true. It's an illusion that we fall victim to. But as Hamlet said, "Seems, madam? Nay, I know not seems."


You are attached to an idea that is very useful but not universal as it ignores objective reality.

And if you believe there is no such thing, then we will forever be unable to communicate effectively.


Blood groups exist regardless of culture. Gravity exists regardless of culture. And so on.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-12-2012, 10:28 AM
RE: Respect for Religion
(16-12-2012 09:13 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(16-12-2012 07:51 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

The notion of constructed reality comes from an in depth study of how human cognition and human society function. So why would some things be constructed and others not? That makes no sense. It's like saying some blood is pumped by the heart, but not all.

When constructed ideas are viewed or presented as the only truth, as seemingly self-evident, that "received wisdom", what is viewed as the common sense view, is nothing more than am ideological position that has been naturalised by hegemony. It's seems true. It's an illusion that we fall victim to. But as Hamlet said, "Seems, madam? Nay, I know not seems."


You are attached to an idea that is very useful but not universal as it ignores objective reality.

And if you believe there is no such thing, then we will forever be unable to communicate effectively.


Blood groups exist regardless of culture. Gravity exists regardless of culture. And so on.

Chas is right, Ghost. Facts do not require belief or acknowledgement and their existence isn't dependent on cognition. The sun was a star and the Earth was in orbit around it even when people believed Apollo carried it in his chariot. There were blood-type reactions before anyone perceived their existence, and whether they are culturally acknowledged or not, they still exist and still kill.

There are objective realities, the whole purpose of the scientific method is to eliminate perception biases to find objective truth.
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16-12-2012, 06:47 PM (This post was last modified: 16-12-2012 07:39 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Respect for Religion
(16-12-2012 07:51 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, fst.

Reject if you must. But it's something that is supported by mountains of evidence. You may want to learn more about it before you make your final decision.
There is a ton of evidence supporting cultural relativism?

That one societies facts are equal to that of another, and are as valid as the results of science?

Quote:Several nations have used cultural relativism as a justification for limiting the rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



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16-12-2012, 07:04 PM (This post was last modified: 16-12-2012 07:39 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Respect for Religion
Lets do this.

My cultural custom is to say that other societal cultural customs are morally inferior to our own.
My cultural custom tells me that for the advancement of humankind, we must adopt a universal morality irrespective of religion and cultures.

Member of the Cult of Reason

The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
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17-12-2012, 10:44 AM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2012 10:49 AM by Ghost.)
RE: Respect for Religion
Hey, Chas, fst, and Science.

There's an old proverb. There is the moon. I see it. You have trouble, so I point at it with my finger. You follow my finger to the moon and can see it. But we can never mistake my finger for the moon.

Right now, you're all mistaking the finger for the moon. The very notion of blood type (just as an example) is a finger, not the moon. This is the essence of socially constructed reality.

We've known this since Plato and his allegory of the cave.

Anthropology discovered long ago that cultural relativity is a fact of life. As Wade Davis says, "...the central revelation of anthropology... is the idea that the world into which you were born does not exist in some absolute sense, but is just one model of reality, the consequence of one particular set of adaptive and intellectual choices that your lineage made, however successfully, many generations ago."

Semiotics, the study of signs, signifiers and signified, realised long ago that human beings abstract the world and assign symbols to those abstractions. When we think, we think about those representations, not reality itself.

In communications studies, the liner model (encoder --> channel --> decoder), while useful, is not sufficient. The ritual model, one that relies entirely on the constructivist view, has been accepted for decades. The act of communication itself is an act of creating, sharing, imposing and maintaining reality.

We've long known that cultures evolve and that they are transmitted. Memetics gives us a framework for understanding how that process works. It also points to the inescapable truth that just as in genetics, there is no cultural base-line. There is no perfect cultural being to compare all others to just as there is no perfect genetic being to compare all others to. There is simply a wilderness of difference that exists because it's adaptive.

The human central nervous system, the human brain, human cognition and human language form a complex through which we constantly abstract the world around us.

Quote:When we speak of "symbolic processes" in the brain or in the mind, we are referring to our ability to abstract elements of our experience and to represent them with discrete mental symbols. Other species certainly possess consciousness in some sense, but as far as we know, they live in the world simply as it presents itself to them. Presumably, for them the environment seems very much like a continuum, rather than a place, like ours, that is divided into the huge number of separate elements to which we humans give individual names. By separating out its elements in this way, human beings are able constantly to re-create the world, and individual aspects of it, in their minds. And what makes this possible is the ability to form and to manipulate mental symbols that correspond to elements we perceive in the world within and beyond ourselves. Members of other species often display high levels of intuitive reasoning, reacting to stimuli from the environment in quite complex ways, by only human beings are able arbitrarily to combine and recombine mental symbols and to ask themselves questions such as "What if?"...

If there is one single aspect of human mental function that is more closely tied up with symbolic processes than any other, it is surely our use of language. Language is, indeed, the ultimate symbolic mental function, and it is virtually impossible to conceive of thought as we know it in its absence. For words, it is fair to say, function as the units of human thought, at least as we are aware of it. They are certainly the medium by which we explain our thoughts to one another and, as incomparably social creatures, seek to influence what is going on in one another’s brains.
-Ian Tattersall, from an article published in Scientific American

Humans don't just tell stories, they live in stories. Our stories, as Daniel Quinn once wrote, tell us, "How things came to be this way."

Quote:A master narrative that we find convincing and persuasive differs from other stories in an important way: it swallows us. It is not a play we can see performed, or a painting we can view, or a city we can visit. A master narrative is a dwelling place. We are intended to live in it...

Alasdair MacIntyre, the moral philosopher, says in his book After Virtue that humans create their sense of what matters, and how they should act, by referring consciously or unconsciously to the stories they have learned. MacIntyre says, “I can only answer the question, ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question, ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’ Children grow into adults by learning stories, and so do nations and communities. MacIntyre says, “Deprive children of stories and you leave them unscripted, anxious stutterers in their actions and in their words… There is no way to give us an understanding of any society, including our own, except through the stock of stories which constitute its initial dramatic resources.
-Robert Fulford, “The Triumph of Narrative,” p. 32-33.

Our brain models the world. It can't do anything else. The amount of data that we would have to process in order to understand the world in it's utter fullness would be staggering; and well beyond the capacity of our brains. Statistician George EP Box once pointed out, "all models are wrong, but some are useful." What he means is that models necessarily leave out important facts. They have to. They're abstractions. A 100% accurate model of a cat is a cat. But models are useful because they allow us to understand the world around us. The models we use are the finger, not the moon.

Quote:The story of jazz also taught me something about master narratives themselves: that they are often wrong in significant ways. The master narrative of jazz overgeneralized. It telescoped events in ways that distorted facts, and left out crucial elements, including whole cities where jazz developed. It undervalued certain musicians because they didn’t fit into what quickly became the accepted framework. The history of jazz demonstrated both the uses and the misuses of master narrative: it explained, to me at least, the need for structured understanding, but at the same time it vividly illustrated the unavoidable drawbacks in that kind of thinking.
-Robert Fulford, “The Triumph of Narrative”, p. 31.

This is just what I came up with in 30 minutes to try and explain socially constructed reality. This is not some fly by night proposition. This is a long-believed, academic, well-supported, peer-reviewed understanding of how human beings function. These are the facts. The notion that some cultures are better, that some have it right, this is the bunk. Debunked bunk. It has no more merit than the notion that some races are better and some races are perfect. It is nothing more than ideology. As Althusser says, we are always agents of and affected by ideology. The trick is to discern when we are merely reinforcing ideology (and why). If people wish to cling tenaciously to that ideology in the face of all of this, so be it. People are only ready for the ideas they are ready for. But there is a world view, where science, social science and philosophy intersect seamlessly, waiting for you to discover it. In terms of this thread, in terms of respecting the religious, this idea is key. If you find yourselves rejecting this idea and unable to respect the religious, then you now know why that is.

PS: That guy in the video frames the issue in a ridiculously biased way. Strawmen and hyperbole don't a good argument make (his modus tollens is just a joke and his conclusion is pathetic). Also, he doesn't offer a shred of evidence. It seems that it's true because he says it's true. More importantly, doesn't understand what he's talking about in any way shape or form.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-12-2012, 01:14 PM
RE: Respect for Religion
(17-12-2012 10:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas, fst, and Science.

There's an old proverb. There is the moon. I see it. You have trouble, so I point at it with my finger. You follow my finger to the moon and can see it. But we can never mistake my finger for the moon.

Right now, you're all mistaking the finger for the moon. The very notion of blood type (just as an example) is a finger, not the moon. This is the essence of socially constructed reality.

We've known this since Plato and his allegory of the cave.

Anthropology discovered long ago that cultural relativity is a fact of life. As Wade Davis says, "...the central revelation of anthropology... is the idea that the world into which you were born does not exist in some absolute sense, but is just one model of reality, the consequence of one particular set of adaptive and intellectual choices that your lineage made, however successfully, many generations ago."

Semiotics, the study of signs, signifiers and signified, realised long ago that human beings abstract the world and assign symbols to those abstractions. When we think, we think about those representations, not reality itself.

In communications studies, the liner model (encoder --> channel --> decoder), while useful, is not sufficient. The ritual model, one that relies entirely on the constructivist view, has been accepted for decades. The act of communication itself is an act of creating, sharing, imposing and maintaining reality.

We've long known that cultures evolve and that they are transmitted. Memetics gives us a framework for understanding how that process works. It also points to the inescapable truth that just as in genetics, there is no cultural base-line. There is no perfect cultural being to compare all others to just as there is no perfect genetic being to compare all others to. There is simply a wilderness of difference that exists because it's adaptive.

The human central nervous system, the human brain, human cognition and human language form a complex through which we constantly abstract the world around us.

Quote:When we speak of "symbolic processes" in the brain or in the mind, we are referring to our ability to abstract elements of our experience and to represent them with discrete mental symbols. Other species certainly possess consciousness in some sense, but as far as we know, they live in the world simply as it presents itself to them. Presumably, for them the environment seems very much like a continuum, rather than a place, like ours, that is divided into the huge number of separate elements to which we humans give individual names. By separating out its elements in this way, human beings are able constantly to re-create the world, and individual aspects of it, in their minds. And what makes this possible is the ability to form and to manipulate mental symbols that correspond to elements we perceive in the world within and beyond ourselves. Members of other species often display high levels of intuitive reasoning, reacting to stimuli from the environment in quite complex ways, by only human beings are able arbitrarily to combine and recombine mental symbols and to ask themselves questions such as "What if?"...

If there is one single aspect of human mental function that is more closely tied up with symbolic processes than any other, it is surely our use of language. Language is, indeed, the ultimate symbolic mental function, and it is virtually impossible to conceive of thought as we know it in its absence. For words, it is fair to say, function as the units of human thought, at least as we are aware of it. They are certainly the medium by which we explain our thoughts to one another and, as incomparably social creatures, seek to influence what is going on in one another’s brains.
-Ian Tattersall, from an article published in Scientific American

Humans don't just tell stories, they live in stories. Our stories, as Daniel Quinn once wrote, tell us, "How things came to be this way."

Quote:A master narrative that we find convincing and persuasive differs from other stories in an important way: it swallows us. It is not a play we can see performed, or a painting we can view, or a city we can visit. A master narrative is a dwelling place. We are intended to live in it...

Alasdair MacIntyre, the moral philosopher, says in his book After Virtue that humans create their sense of what matters, and how they should act, by referring consciously or unconsciously to the stories they have learned. MacIntyre says, “I can only answer the question, ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question, ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’ Children grow into adults by learning stories, and so do nations and communities. MacIntyre says, “Deprive children of stories and you leave them unscripted, anxious stutterers in their actions and in their words… There is no way to give us an understanding of any society, including our own, except through the stock of stories which constitute its initial dramatic resources.
-Robert Fulford, “The Triumph of Narrative,” p. 32-33.

Our brain models the world. It can't do anything else. The amount of data that we would have to process in order to understand the world in it's utter fullness would be staggering; and well beyond the capacity of our brains. Statistician George EP Box once pointed out, "all models are wrong, but some are useful." What he means is that models necessarily leave out important facts. They have to. They're abstractions. A 100% accurate model of a cat is a cat. But models are useful because they allow us to understand the world around us. The models we use are the finger, not the moon.

Quote:The story of jazz also taught me something about master narratives themselves: that they are often wrong in significant ways. The master narrative of jazz overgeneralized. It telescoped events in ways that distorted facts, and left out crucial elements, including whole cities where jazz developed. It undervalued certain musicians because they didn’t fit into what quickly became the accepted framework. The history of jazz demonstrated both the uses and the misuses of master narrative: it explained, to me at least, the need for structured understanding, but at the same time it vividly illustrated the unavoidable drawbacks in that kind of thinking.
-Robert Fulford, “The Triumph of Narrative”, p. 31.

This is just what I came up with in 30 minutes to try and explain socially constructed reality. This is not some fly by night proposition. This is a long-believed, academic, well-supported, peer-reviewed understanding of how human beings function. These are the facts. The notion that some cultures are better, that some have it right, this is the bunk. Debunked bunk. It has no more merit than the notion that some races are better and some races are perfect. It is nothing more than ideology. As Althusser says, we are always agents of and affected by ideology. The trick is to discern when we are merely reinforcing ideology (and why). If people wish to cling tenaciously to that ideology in the face of all of this, so be it. People are only ready for the ideas they are ready for. But there is a world view, where science, social science and philosophy intersect seamlessly, waiting for you to discover it. In terms of this thread, in terms of respecting the religious, this idea is key. If you find yourselves rejecting this idea and unable to respect the religious, then you now know why that is.

PS: That guy in the video frames the issue in a ridiculously biased way. Strawmen and hyperbole don't a good argument make (his modus tollens is just a joke and his conclusion is pathetic). Also, he doesn't offer a shred of evidence. It seems that it's true because he says it's true. More importantly, doesn't understand what he's talking about in any way shape or form.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt



Matt,
Seriously, I understand all of that and largely agree.

However, there is reality and there is perception - they are not the same.

While we never know reality except as our perceptions and consciousness and context allow, it is there nonetheless.

And if you have an inaccurate model of it, it will kill you.

-Chas

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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