Respect for Religion
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18-12-2012, 07:38 AM
RE: Respect for Religion
(18-12-2012 06:26 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, DLJ.

So the fact that we're destroying ecosystem after ecosystem doesn't bother you? The destruction of the amazon is fine? Global warming aint no thang? Sharkwater and the Cove were pointless films?

Cultural genocide and cultural imperialism are fine? The death of 19 million First Peoples is meaningless? The Christianisation of Europe doesn't bother you? You don't mind if English is wiped from the planet and we all speak Mandarin?

I get what you mean about evolution having no end point. I truly honestly do and I agree as well. I just think you're taking it too far; even to a point that I don't think you actually beleive.

It's like, "Is it better to be alive?" In the ultimate scheme of things "it doesn't matter." So why should any of us care whether or not we're alive? But we do. All of us do. We fight tooth and nail to stay alive. So whatever you want to call that urge, the urge to live, that's what we're talking about here. I mean, if survival isn't important, then what the hell is?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Ghost

It's DLJ's societal culture and tradition.

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18-12-2012, 07:38 AM
RE: Respect for Religion
Hey, Chas.

Why? Because you say so?

Universal Darwinism is a reality that people are going to have to get used to. The ethnosphere is made up of cultures that are what they are because of mutation, variation, heredity and selection. It is a system that is just as subject to punctuated equilibrium as the biosphere. If you have a diverse system, then it has a much better chance of surviving rapid environmental change. If you have an anemic system, it's much more likely to fail.

If you have some sort of argument against this, present it. If you have some sort of evidence that it's perfectly fine to move towards a single culture, present it. I'll be more than happy to discuss them. But your summary dismissal of Universal Darwinism on the grounds of "you don't like it" has no value.

And none of this even touches the human question. I don't know if anyone here has ever worked with First Nations peoples, but my family has. Extensively. And the cost of cultural genocide is devastating. Closer to home, I'm half Bemba. My tribe has suffered from the moment the first Europeans arrived straight through to today. The cost of monoculture is not some academic thing. It has caused, and continues to cause, the death of millions and the suffering of millions more.





I've said it before and I'll say it again, if people can't even rise to the minimum level of accepting that the very notion of cultural diversity is important, then they have no hope of ever respecting the religious or any other culture that is different for that matter. If you can't recognise their importance or even their right to exist, if you don't even value them, then forget about respect and relationship.

And I'm sorry, but we've had this conversation before. 100 years ago. Only it had to do with race and it was called eugenics. This notion of better/worse cultures, valid/invalid cultures and worse, that some should be promoted to the detriment of others, is as baseless as eugenics was and as destined for horror. It is pseudoscience of the most egregious kind.

I was having lunch with some friends in Old Montreal over the weekend and three skinheads walked into the place, bought their food and left. I was reminded that there are people out there that, to be as polite as possible, would be happy if I didn't exist. Those three men would have been just as happy to beat me to death in a dark alley. And I'm sorry, but I see no difference whatsoever between those skinheads and those who think other cultures are problems to be removed. No difference. I'm afraid of both.

(And to be clear, Chas, my initial response to you morphed into a larger statement, so please do not feel that all of that was aimed directly at you)

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-12-2012, 08:00 AM
RE: Respect for Religion
(18-12-2012 06:26 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, DLJ.

So the fact that we're destroying ecosystem after ecosystem doesn't bother you?
...
It's like, "Is it better to be alive?" In the ultimate scheme of things "it doesn't matter." So why should any of us care whether or not we're alive? But we do. All of us do.
Matt

Did I say it doesn't bother me?

If Mandarin is the globally, democratically elected language of the Federation, why should that bother me?

And did we just discover something that is not culturally relative?
I wonder what other things we could find to start building a moral landscape.

I just hope that yet-to-be-encountered alien cultures have the same opinion about our survival.




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18-12-2012, 08:05 AM (This post was last modified: 18-12-2012 08:20 AM by fstratzero.)
RE: Respect for Religion
(18-12-2012 07:38 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

Why? Because you say so?

Universal Darwinism is a reality that people are going to have to get used to. The ethnosphere is made up of cultures that are what they are because of mutation, variation, heredity and selection. It is a system that is just as subject to punctuated equilibrium as the biosphere. If you have a diverse system, then it has a much better chance of surviving rapid environmental change. If you have an anemic system, it's much more likely to fail.

If you have some sort of argument against this, present it. If you have some sort of evidence that it's perfectly fine to move towards a single culture, present it. I'll be more than happy to discuss them. But your summary dismissal of Universal Darwinism on the grounds of "you don't like it" has no value.

And none of this even touches the human question. I don't know if anyone here has ever worked with First Nations peoples, but my family has. Extensively. And the cost of cultural genocide is devastating. Closer to home, I'm half Bemba. My tribe has suffered from the moment the first Europeans arrived straight through to today. The cost of monoculture is not some academic thing. It has caused, and continues to cause, the death of millions and the suffering of millions more.





I've said it before and I'll say it again, if people can't even rise to the minimum level of accepting that the very notion of cultural diversity is important, then they have no hope of ever respecting the religious or any other culture that is different for that matter. If you can't recognise their importance or even their right to exist, if you don't even value them, then forget about respect and relationship.

And I'm sorry, but we've had this conversation before. 100 years ago. Only it had to do with race and it was called eugenics. This notion of better/worse cultures, valid/invalid cultures and worse, that some should be promoted to the detriment of others, is as baseless as eugenics was and as destined for horror. It is pseudoscience of the most egregious kind.

I was having lunch with some friends in Old Montreal over the weekend and three skinheads walked into the place, bought their food and left. I was reminded that there are people out there that, to be as polite as possible, would be happy if I didn't exist. Those three men would have been just as happy to beat me to death in a dark alley. And I'm sorry, but I see no difference whatsoever between those skinheads and those who think other cultures are problems to be removed. No difference. I'm afraid of both.

(And to be clear, Chas, my initial response to you morphed into a larger statement, so please do not feel that all of that was aimed directly at you)

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

I'm going to ignore most of your post but say that having different cultures is fine as long as their actions are not contrary to the happiness, or the health of others.

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18-12-2012, 09:38 AM
RE: Respect for Religion
Hey, DLJ.

If it doesn't bother you then I see a disconnect. How is it that those things bother you and yet it seems as though you wouldn't mind if they happened. Could you clarify that for me?

If Mandarin became the global language (and never in a million bazillionjillion years would that ever be a democratic decision for both the obvious common sense reasons and because culture doesn't evolve by democratic vote) I'd be pissed. I'm bilingual (English, French) and I've actually been contemplating going to Beijing to learn Mandarin, but I have spent a very long time honing my ability to express myself in English (for a number of different reasons). It's an integral part of my career. If English disappeared, so would my career, my cultural tradition, my wisdom and my ability to express myself. Any wisdom or knowledge knitted up in the English language that does not perfectly translate into Mandarin would be lost. I can tell you, I live in a province that has language laws prohibiting the use of English in many instances (has to be half the size of French on signs [and I shit you not, L'Office québécois de la langue française will measure it with a ruler], any business with more than 10 employees are legally obliged to conduct their business in French and there are very serious limitations about who can attend an English school) and it's a shitty situation.

It's easy for us to say that losing our culture doesn't matter because by and large, Westerners are in no danger of losing it (Quebec is a special/complex case in North America, and even if English was banned outright here, I can go almost anywhere in the world and find English communities. The Cree are not so lucky). If you truly believe that none of it matters, so be it. I do not share your opinion, for both scientific and philosophical reasons that I've outlined above.

As for finding something that is not culturally relative, I have no idea what you're talking about.

As for the moral landscape, it's built. It has evolved across all cultures over thousands of years.

As far as aliens go, did you get into the peyote again?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-12-2012, 09:43 AM
RE: Respect for Religion
(18-12-2012 09:38 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, DLJ.

If it doesn't bother you then I see a disconnect. How is it that those things bother you and yet it seems as though you wouldn't mind if they happened. Could you clarify that for me?

If Mandarin became the global language (and never in a million bazillionjillion years would that ever be a democratic decision for both the obvious common sense reasons and because culture doesn't evolve by democratic vote) I'd be pissed. I'm bilingual (English, French) and I've actually been contemplating going to Beijing to learn Mandarin, but I have spent a very long time honing my ability to express myself in English (for a number of different reasons). It's an integral part of my career. If English disappeared, so would my career, my cultural tradition, my wisdom and my ability to express myself. Any wisdom or knowledge knitted up in the English language that does not perfectly translate into Mandarin would be lost. I can tell you, I live in a province that has language laws prohibiting the use of English in many instances (has to be half the size of French on signs [and I shit you not, L'Office québécois de la langue française will measure it with a ruler], any business with more than 10 employees are legally obliged to conduct their business in French and there are very serious limitations about who can attend an English school) and it's a shitty situation.

It's easy for us to say that losing our culture doesn't matter because by and large, Westerners are in no danger of losing it (Quebec is a special/complex case in North America, and even if English was banned outright here, I can go almost anywhere in the world and find English communities. The Cree are not so lucky). If you truly believe that none of it matters, so be it. I do not share your opinion, for both scientific and philosophical reasons that I've outlined above.

As for finding something that is not culturally relative, I have no idea what you're talking about.

As for the moral landscape, it's built. It has evolved across all cultures over thousands of years.

As far as aliens go, did you get into the peyote again?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-12-2012, 12:59 PM
RE: Respect for Religion
If I may, and please feel free to correct me, at great length, with plenty of sarcasm, but this has become a rather verbose question of:

Does religion have value as a cultural construct independent of the objective truth of its position? The answer being argued that it DOES have value in that it is cultural, historical, and introduces ideas, and there is no objective truth. And the opposing argument is that anything independent of the objective truth cannot have value because, by definition, it doesn't bring truth and truth is the only way we have to judge our ideas objectively.

Should religion be respected as a component of culture, no, not when it causes harm. Does it bring objective truth? Not even a little.

By what criteria should we judge religion? Not by our "feelings" of its value, they are subjective, then by some objective measure? We are back again at: does religion do harm, does it bring truth, and does it do good?

Does religion do harm? Yes, demonstrably. It is divisive, and breeds hostility and even violence. It has restricted scientific endeavor and peace in the past, and does so in the present.

Does it bring truth? No, religion's whole "value" is predicated on belief in the untestable (gods, souls, spirituality).

Does it do good? No. Religious people may do good, but people do good without religion. Is there any demonstrable good that religion does that nothing else does? Nope.

Thus, religion does no good, brings no truth, and does harm. I see no reason to respect religion.
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19-12-2012, 02:58 PM
RE: Respect for Religion
Hey, Science.

Quote:Does religion have value as a cultural construct independent of the
objective truth of its position? The answer being argued that it DOES
have value in that it is cultural, historical, and introduces ideas, and
there is no objective truth. And the opposing argument is that anything
independent of the objective truth cannot have value because, by
definition, it doesn't bring truth and truth is the only way we have to
judge our ideas objectively.

That's a very reasonable assessment. Well said.

In terms of truth of the position, 2 things. 1 - It has been proven that in terms of success, cultural content is irrelevant. What is relevant is that everyone is rowing in the same direction. That's an astonishing revelation. Not only does that mean that the cultural content we disagree with is irrelevant in terms of success, it also means that our own cultural content is irrelevant. 2 - Asking whether or not a culture is valid based on content/traits is like asking if a species is valid based on content/traits. It doesn't apply. Content, or traits, are there because they are adaptive and for no other reason.

As for the opposing argument, if one believes in objective truth, then that is where the disconnect lies. Socially constructed reality and objective truth are incompatible ideas. The difference is, homosexuality will never be banned by cultural relativists but it has been by those that believe in objective truth. That's the pitfall of that ideology. In order for one to have the objective truth, all other truths are necessarily incorrect. So who's the one with the objective truth? This is part of the reason that those that believe in objective truth find it difficult to respect the Other, because the Other is wrong and therefore invalid as a person. Those of us that accept the reality of socially constructed reality have the capacity to respect the Other, because the Other isn't wrong, they're different.

When I look at an Amazonian tribe, painting their faces, living in huts, worshiping spirits, the empiricist in me knows that what they believe is empirically false. But they have been living that way, successfully, more successfully than us in many ways (no mental health issues, sustainable development, egalitarian society), for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I see a completely different understanding of what it means to be human and alive. The Darwinist in me rejoices at the example of evolution in action. I do not see something dangerous or pitiable. My reaction to them extends to all cultures.

When I have conversations with my Catholic friends, my Evangelical friends, and even you Atheist chucleheads round there here parts, I rejoice in the delicious diversity.

Quote:Religious people may do good, but people do good without religion. Is
there any demonstrable good that religion does that nothing else does?
Nope.

Yes, people do good without religion. But it's not a utilitarian argument. Being alive is not about looking for the most efficient way or anything like that. The point is, all humans, hell all organisms, need to make a living (ie, do what is necessary to maintain their metabolic pathways) but there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY to do it. That's WHY there is a diversity of organisms and that's WHY there is a diversity of cultures. Catholicism is just one aproach. Science is another. Shamanism is another. Animism is another. Sedentism. Nomadism. The list goes on for some time, at least for now. Because the vast web of cultural diversity, the endowment of tens of thousands of years of evolution, is on the decline. Cultures are going extinct and they are dragging those unique ways with them into oblivion. Just as monocropping sees entire ecosystems put to the plough and replaced by an endless field of grain, monoculture takes an old growth forest of cultural diversity and ploughs it under, utterly insensitive to the devastating human cost. That's a tragedy.

Now, in terms of the causing harm argument. Does religion cause harm? Sure. So does capitalism. But we don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater necessarily (maybe we do, but necessarily is the operative word). It's about plus minus. Add up the pros and cons of most religious institutions and the sum will be negative. But there is so much wisdom wrapped up in religions that it's foolish to just chuck it all as a result of that rating. More importantly, the religious themselves need to be respected. Is that religious wisdom extricable from the institution? I don't know. I honestly don't. But the truth is this. In the world of Our culture, there are countless special interest groups, each vying for power. If power is equally distributed, or at least close to it, we're fine. We can live in harmony because we each get to be ourselves. When power is centralised in the hands of one special interest group, or a small coalition of them, then life starts to suck quick, fast and in a hurry. Religious institutions are powerful and well organised and at times, they can dominate the agenda and at times have even ruled this planet. And absolutely, that should be resisted. Beyond doubt. Not because they're wrong per-se, but because it's bad if ANY special interest group dominates. But all the while, the people are the people.

As a Canadian, I grew up hating Americans. For those Americans who don't know, pretty much everyone on the planet hates you. I looked at the American system, the military, the government, and I saw something that was far too dominant. It sickened me. And I hated Americans for it. But then I started to meet Americans. I was faced with the reality that Americans are people too. They have their own thoughts and dreams, they are interested and they care. However alien their beliefs are to my own (your absolutely criminal healthcare system makes me shed tears of liquid hot anger), they deserve my respect. I had an argument with an American woman a few years ago and she defended the American system and as reprehensible as I believe that system is, I had to admit that within the context of the American situation, she had a point.

It is important to separate the political component of power and domination (which is a by product of a hierarchical system, a by product that should be resisted and a system that should be replaced), from the cultural component of the importance of diversity. Catholicism is a collection of wisdom handed down for thousands of years. The Catholic Church, the organisation that exerts power over every Catholic in the world and on the rest of the world on "behalf" of Catholics everywhere, yeah, that's some bullshit right there. But so is the US army. And so is Royal Dutch Shell.





There are no extremist beliefs. There are only extreme forms of beliefs and worse, extreme forms of beliefs who wield power. As Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf once said:
Quote:The real battle front is between moderates on all sides of all the faith
traditions and the radicals on all sides. The radicals actually feed
off each other. And in some kind of existential way, need each other.
And the more that the radicals are able to control the discourse on one
side, it strengthens the radicals on the other side and vice versa. We
have to turn this around.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-12-2012, 05:59 PM
RE: Respect for Religion
Matt,

1. What wisdom does religion offer? I was going to add, "that outweighs its harm," but really, what does it offer at all?

2. Religion is a PART of culture, not a whole culture in and of itself (at least, not in the context of people we would meet in our daily lives) and shedding such a harmful part of culture is no different than letting human sacrifice drift away into history. Surely you wouldn't argue that human sacrifice should be practiced and preserved to maintain cultural diversity?

3. Socially constructed reality is a fun thought exercise but is unsupportable. This has been logically demonstrated to you several times, yet again: helium exists whether I believe it does or not, whether any human believes it does or not. You can't base any reasonable argument on an unsupported position.

The religious should be respected, as all humans should. Respecting he person doesn't mean condoning their belief nor their actions. A sociopath has the right to exist, he can arguably be allowed the right to believe people are inherently sinful and deserve to die, but he doesn't have the right to kill. The religious have the right to believe, but not act on such belief if it causes harm. And neither the sociopath nor the religious have the right for their beliefs to go unquestioned, to be sacred.

And I stand by my original statement, I respect my fellow humans too much to pat them on the head and "allow them their delusions," they are intelligent enough to be asked to reason. I respect them enough to treat them like adults (well, the adults anyway, kids are a whole different situation, they have an additional right to be protected from harmful manipulation.)
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19-12-2012, 07:26 PM
RE: Respect for Religion
(18-12-2012 09:38 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, DLJ.

If it doesn't bother you then I see a disconnect. How is it that those things bother you and yet it seems as though you wouldn't mind if they happened. Could you clarify that for me?

Sure... it's 'cos I is Vulcan.

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