Scientific Theory
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30-08-2010, 10:47 PM
RE: Scientific Theory
Hey, Secular Student.

It's a fine point. But why did (I don't want to say all, but) most societies decide that there was a force beyond them that controlled the world? Half of them doing it? I can buy it. But all? To me, there's something that is very powerful in that idea.

Hey, Thor.

Fine idea. I don't agree that humans could function if every single point of their world view was based on fact, but that's me. There's nothing wrong with basing things on observed evidence, I just don't think it's the only way. Also, don't throw things in my face. That's just not cool.

Hey, Bnw.

I am what I am.

If it's not worthy of your attention, fine. But for me, that doesn't mean it's not worthy of anyone's attention.

Quote:Third, I never meant to say relativism would lead to atrocity. What it leads to is apologies and apathy and when the atrocities come you've got too many people looking the other way or making excuses. Making excuses for terrorists, pedophiles, etc. These people are not condoning 9/11 or the child abuse scandal but they are giving a whole lot of "yes, but" remarks and give these vermin the appearance of credibility.

Are "these people" relativists?

What I think you're missing is that these people have committed crimes. Their cultures aren't based on terror and pedophilia.

I think that messing with cultures is as foolhardy as messing with organisms. GMOs are a terrible idea and Memetically Modified Cultures are just as bad an idea.

For me, the idea that I can export my morality or my worldview to another culture means that I think that I'm right. History is replete with examples of cultures claiming to be right and exporting those beliefs, either through force or mission or trade or colony. In every case, the exporters were not right and those that had those views imposed on them were savaged. The entire continent of Africa is on fire right now because Europeans showed up and said, you don't know how to live or think. So we'll show you. For your own good. They introduced technologies and beliefs and religions and political systems and arbitrary borders and now Africa is a hellscape.

I like what my boy Jean-Luc Picard says:
Quote:The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; it is a philosophy... and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.

For me, it's not just less developed cultures. It's all cultures. Did the States make Russia better by introducing corporatism? Did Mao make China better by introducing communism? Did the Jesuits make the Huron better by introducing religion? Did anyone ever make an aboriginal people better by introducing technologies? Will Atheists make the world better by abolishing religion and faith? Will Theists make it better by abolishing science and reason?

Quote:Too many people gave this criminal enterprise deference because it was a religious organization. I can't think of any other type of group in the world that would have gotten away with what the Church did. I can't think of people standing for it. But, we have too many people making apologies and excuses.

Hitler! Nazi Germany re-militarised the Rhineland, sent troops into Austria, annexed the Sudetenland and invaded other countries. Re-militarising the Rhineland alone was a violation of the Treaty of Versaille but no one did a thing until he invaded Poland. That entire period (in which Hitler did whatever he wanted and dared other countries to call his bluff) was called the Age of Appeasement.

Not doing something about a foreign threat is a political question. Period. It has nothing to do whatsoever with the ideology of the foreign group. Hitler didn't get a pass because he was religious. He got a pass because people didn't want to engage him. The only reason Kim Jung Il gets to live in his batshit crazy pleasure palace is because the States would lose a ground war and they don't want Chicago to glow in the dark. Power is power is power.

And if Catholics aren't stringing these pedophiles up that's a problem with internal policing.

Also, George W Bush. That man did insane shit and lied about it and no one took him to task because he was the president. That fucker should be in jail. But he's not. That's the power of authority. People who have it are typically exempt from prosecution so long as the transgression of their authority was not too dire.

Hey, 2buckchuck.

Quote:The burden of proof for the EXISTENCE of a putative creator is on the believers.

Why do they have to prove it?

--

Ok. I think I've hijacked this thread long enough. Sorry, Omega 21. This is all pretty far from science vs creation.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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30-08-2010, 11:41 PM
 
RE: Scientific Theory
Quote:Also, don't throw things in my face. That's just not cool.
Sorry if my post sounded offensive to you, it wasn't on purpose.

Quote:But why did (I don't want to say all, but) most societies decide that there was a force beyond them that controlled the world? Half of them doing it? I can buy it. But all? To me, there's something that is very powerful in that idea.
In ancient times, when there was no science, people had to somehow explain all those strange phenomena that happened around them. Over time more and more myths, stories, legends were added, eventually forming huge belief systems. It's just human nature, we seek answers, and if they aren't available, we begin to speculate.

Quote:Hitler! Nazi Germany re-militarised the Rhineland, sent troops into Austria, annexed the Sudetenland and invaded other countries(...)
Hitler and 3rd Reich is an entirely different story and doesn't explain or justify the case of child-raping priests within catholic church or Muslim terrorist attacks.
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31-08-2010, 04:43 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
Quote:I am what I am.

If it's not worthy of your attention, fine. But for me, that doesn't mean it's not worthy of anyone's attention.

You need at least 500mgs of LIGHTEN UP! Jeez, it was a joke about the length of your posts.

Anyway --- I read every word of your last one and I have no idea what you're trying to say to me or what your point is. Just to be clear: that is not meant as an insult nor am I claiming your post is not worthy of my attention. I just don't understand how that response is in any way relevant to my previous comments. Perhaps you could 'splain?

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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31-08-2010, 06:16 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
Thanks, Thor.

It was the Peace and Love and Empathy thing. That had nothing to do with the argument. I felt it was like saying, sure, As-Salāmu Alaykum, but above that... know what I mean?

I get the figuring out things bit. But there have been thousands of cultures and most of them went with gods. I mean, why didn't some of them go with something secular? That's just an interesting bit of universality.

The Hitler thing was just to illustrate that groups with power get away with shit, not just religious groups with power.

Bnw.

I am relaxed, dude. I wasn't saying my posts weren't worthy of your attention... I'd NEVER say that. You're entitled to my opinion Big Grin I meant if you don't think something you can't disprove is worthy of your attention, that's cool. But I don't jive with the leap that it's therefore not worthy of anyone's attention. Like if you're saying "I don't like it" I'm with you. But if you're saying "no one should like it" that's where I diverge.

As for your issue, I made several points. So I don't think I can help you out unless you get a little more specific. I mean generally speaking I was addressing your issues with relativism (that it was about making excuses and allowing evil to occur rather than it being about observing the Law of Limited Competition) and the idea that the Catholic church or Islam got away with something because of some special property of religion rather than just because they have power. I also pointed out that pedophiles are criminals. Their actions are not enshrined in the culture. They are an aberration to be dealt with by the culture. As a non-Catholic, that's not my job. And if people aren't going after the Catholic church for covering it up (which isn't the case) then that's due to political concerns and power dynamics rather than some sanctification of religion... Ok, maybe I could help a little. Hope that helped.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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31-08-2010, 08:22 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
(31-08-2010 06:16 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I get the figuring out things bit. But there have been thousands of cultures and most of them went with gods. I mean, why didn't some of them go with something secular? That's just an interesting bit of universality.

Most gods are leftovers from primitive societies which did not possess the knowledge of the universe to understand things like "Why does the sun hang in the sky?" and "Why is that volcano spitting fire?". When you don't know but want to know, and have no way of finding out, "a wizard did it" is just as good an answer as any. The gods of today are just leftovers from those ones. Traditions don't die easy.

"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
- Terry Pratchett
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31-08-2010, 10:13 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
Ghost

The example you give of colonialism in Africa or North Korea may be good examples of atrocities but they are simply not examples of moral or societal relativism. They are not the result, either directly or indirectly, of people making excuses or apologies for certain actions. I suppose one could argue that there is a bit of relativism going on by the world since it allows the Dear Leader to continue to subjugate his people the way he does, but I think any such argument would be flawed as the reason he is allowed to continue has nothing to do with people making excuses for him or defending his actions or his right to do what he does. There is a different dynamic going on. So, again, I'm not sure what the point is over bringing them up.

Also, I was not trying to say that terrorism or pedophilia was enshrined in any culture. My point is that we give religion some level of credence, deference and tolerance that we would never give any other organization. Western societies especially are afraid of offending anyone's religious sensibilities. I am a near absolutist on the right to free speech but free speech cuts both ways. Various religious groups have the right to spew hate about gays or Muslims or whomever but for some reason everyone is afraid to say "boo" back to them. Religious leaders use their pulpit to push political agendas, which is a clear violation of their tax exempt status,and politicians are afraid to say "boo" to them. Why is that? I can assure you that any non-religious not-for-profit organization in the US that involved itself in politics the way religion does would lose it's tax exempt status so fast it would make their heads snap. And yet, religious groups get to do this all the time.

As to your point about you not being a Catholic so it not being your job to monitor them, I leave you with this Edmund Burk quote: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
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31-08-2010, 10:29 AM
RE: Scientific Theory
(31-08-2010 06:16 AM)Ghost Wrote:  And if people aren't going after the Catholic church for covering it up (which isn't the case) then that's due to political concerns and power dynamics rather than some sanctification of religion...

Simply put....not true. For someone who usually has pretty good insight, it suprises me to see you are so blind as to make this comment. There are peope going after the Catholic church for their wrong-doings. That is true. But they are the people who refuse to give in to the ridiculous sanctifications the "politically correct" world provides religion. It's taboo to attack religion, and so even when the church does wrong, the masses turn a blind eye. Of course there are people who don't tolerate this. Look around you. The vast majority of the people on this forum have little or no patience for this. They are just not the vast majority elsewhere.
Pure and simple. Religion gets away with things any other organization would not.

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31-08-2010, 11:22 AM
 
RE: Scientific Theory
(30-08-2010 10:47 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, 2buckchuck.

Quote:The burden of proof for the EXISTENCE of a putative creator is on the believers.

Why do they have to prove it?
Because it's logically impossible to prove (or more properly, provide evidence for) non-existence. Atheism is NOT a belief system, it's the ABSENCE of a belief (in a deity). Many theists demand, illogically, that it's up to non-believers to prove that a deity doesn't exist, but the default position in any rational debate about beliefs is non-belief. Atheism is the default position in this debate, so the burden of proof is on those with a belief.
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31-08-2010, 12:26 PM (This post was last modified: 31-08-2010 12:30 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Scientific Theory
Hey, Unbeliever.

Quote:Most gods are leftovers from primitive societies which did not possess the knowledge of the universe to understand things like "Why does the sun hang in the sky?" and "Why is that volcano spitting fire?". When you don't know but want to know, and have no way of finding out, "a wizard did it" is just as good an answer as any. The gods of today are just leftovers from those ones. Traditions don't die easy.

I'm with you. I am. But that's not what I'm saying. What is significant to me is not that people might attribute phenomena to gods, what is significant to me is that pretty much every society that has ever existed has done it. It's the universality of it that I find intriguing. Is the difference I'm driving at clear?

Might it just be a trait picked up from some original protoculture from which all cultures are descended? Might there be a genetic predilection for attributing things to the supernatural in all humans (like there is a predilection to exaggerate the human form in art in all cultures)? Might it be coincidence? Might it be based on something real? Even if it's just a meme from some original protoculture, why was it selected for universally for thousands of years? I just find the whole thing interesting. There's something there. I'm not saying it means gods are real, I'm just saying it's interesting.

Hey, Bnw.

Quote:The example you give of colonialism in Africa or North Korea may be good examples of atrocities but they are simply not examples of moral or societal relativism.

I agree. They were never meant as such. They were meant to show secular organisations getting away with stuff as a function of power rather than as a function of preference given to religion.

I'm not saying that religions don't get special treatment. I'm saying that all powerful organisations get special treatment. I'm contesting your idea that there is no other organisation on earth that would get special treatment.

Quote:My point is that we give religion some level of credence, deference and tolerance that we would never give any other organization.
-North Korea
-The Nazi's in the 1930s
-Bechtel
-The United States Government

For me it's like saying, rabbits have fur and I can't imagine another mammal having fur. But all mammals have hair/fur. You literally can't be a mammal if you don't. I'm interested in the lowest common denominator.

For me, the lowest common denominator is power. All organisations have it to some degree. Internal power and external power. Power consists of: coercion, influence and authority. Any powerful organisation has authority. People who believe they have not overstepped it will say, "what they did is a-ok." People who think they have MAY say "what they did was bullshit" (I'll explain the may caveat below). If I see a guy draw a gun and I see a cop smash him in the teeth with a billy club and drag his bleeding gums away to jail, I'd probably say, nothing wrong with that. If I saw an old lady pull out a baguette and saw the same cop smash her in the teeth with a billy club and drag her bleeding gums away to jail, I'd probably scream bloody murder. In my mind the cop has the authority to behave one way and not the other. Not only does power have limits, but power is a mutual agreement. So anyone can opt out at any time, not just when something egregious has happened, but if they feel it might happen one day, and say that organisation X is wack. But they put themselves in the line of fire of organisation X if they do. So they may say what they did is bullshit and they may not if they feel doing so undermines their position. Anyhoo, all of this to say that for me, it's a question of power. If it isn't then I'll reframe the argument this way. Why are religions given special treatment?

Quote:Various religious groups have the right to spew hate about gays or Muslims or whomever but for some reason everyone is afraid to say "boo" back to them. Religious leaders use their pulpit to push political agendas, which is a clear violation of their tax exempt status,and politicians are afraid to say "boo" to them. Why is that?

I would say it's because they're powerful men fronting powerful organisations. Politicians have one job and one job only, gain support from the powerful. Politicians at any point can yank a corporation's charter. But has it ever happened? No. Not even when the corporations are acting dangerously and criminally. Why? Because they're powerful.

And people are not afraid to say boo back at them. There's plenty of people doing that. Canada has hate laws. The KKK tried handing out their paper The Clansmen in Quebec and the federal government threw them out of the country. But Canada has no reason to fear the KKK. They're bitches. But they may think twice before criticizing Russia.

I'm not saying that no one is giving religions a pass, they are, but not because they're religions.

Quote:As to your point about you not being a Catholic so it not being your job to monitor them, I leave you with this Edmund Burk quote: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

I'm faced with the realisation that what I am about to say might seem facetious. I assure you it's not. This is actually what I think. Hope you enjoy.

I don't believe in good and evil. Burk's statement is irrelevant to me. To me, it might as well read, all that is necessary for the Spaghetti Monster to triumph is for non-Spaghetti Monsters to do nothing.

The idea of good and evil is a control mechanism, nothing more.

The number one way to dehumanise a foe is to call them evil. It's the oldest trick in the book. Once they're evil, they're no longer human and we're free to destroy them. That's the problem. You can call anyone you disagree with, or any behaviour you want to outlaw, evil. I try to not look at the world in simplistic Micky Mouse terms but rather understand that people do things for reasons and understanding those reasons is what is important. Those douchebags didn't fly planes into the Twin Towers because they're evil. Evil is melodrama. If someone can explain to me by which mechanism evil impels evil people to act evilly, I'll be more than willing to listen.

That being said, subjectivism and cultural relativism doesn't mean that you can never act. That's preposterous. It means that you act in certain ways.

Hey, Stark Raving.

I think I addressed what you said above when I was talking about authority. And thanks for the compliment, home slice. I think the same of you... well... without the blind part Big Grin OK, mushiness aside, I will say this, how can political correctness exist if there is no political question?

Hey, 2buckchuck.

Quote:Because it's logically impossible to prove (or more properly, provide evidence for) non-existence. Atheism is NOT a belief system, it's the ABSENCE of a belief (in a deity). Many theists demand, illogically, that it's up to non-believers to prove that a deity doesn't exist, but the default position in any rational debate about beliefs is non-belief. Atheism is the default position in this debate, so the burden of proof is on those with a belief.

But it's impossible to prove existence. So you're saying they have to prove something that is impossible to prove. So both sides can't do what the other asks but you set the default as your side. That aside, what I was getting at was was a more fundamental question. Why do they have to prove it? To you, to me, to anyone?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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31-08-2010, 01:39 PM
RE: Scientific Theory
(30-08-2010 10:47 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Secular Student.

It's a fine point. But why did (I don't want to say all, but) most societies decide that there was a force beyond them that controlled the world? Half of them doing it? I can buy it. But all? To me, there's something that is very powerful in that idea.

Well, I'm not able to answer those questions, as history/anthropology aren't my areas of study, but I can take an educated guess.
Humans, no matter what their culture, are essentially "wired" the same way. So, it would make sense that if one society believed in a deity, then we could probably safely predict that most societies believe(d) in a deity. And that's what has been found. However, that doesn't mean that there weren't individuals within a society who questioned these assumptions. As far back as the Ancient Greeks there were philosophers and naturalists that questioned the existence of the gods. Socrates was put on trial, and put to death, for being accused of atheism, although we don't know what he actually believed.
That's part of the problem with history; we cannot always know what individuals within a society are thinking. Many people are pressured by the society that they are in, and adhere to the religious institutions that are in power whether or not they believe in what the institutions are proclaiming. Many societies also believed that their ruler had divine powers, or that he was in direct communication with some divine being, so religion may also be prolific because of the way that it can be used by rulers to control their subjects.

I also had another thought about the proliferation of deities in culture. Many religions believe in some sort of life force (or "soul") that lives on after the body is dead. This is to compensate for humans' innate fear of death, and their wish to cheat/avoid it. Furthermore, many religions worship the ancestors of the group in place of an actual deity-in-the-sky, which is another way of trying to keep humans alive in spite of death.

These are simply my guesses. I honestly have no concrete idea why humans decided that there must be a being similar to them, only more powerful, who controls the forces that they don't understand. In retrospect, they could have chosen a number of reasons for what went on in the world, but the analogy of a human-like being was close at hand, so perhaps that's why so many used it?

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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