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Thread: Can deeply committed people be tolerant?

  1. #1 Can deeply committed people be tolerant? 
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    A week ago, responding to someone on a thread about religion, I wrote that “many people have no problem with being both scientific and religious. Scientists do not validate claims by referring to God, and they do not try to explain God by using science.” I was responding on Richard Dawkin's website. But my post was at once removed by the moderator.

    So much about about mutual tolerance and respect which many of us prefer. The same happened when I posted something at a communist website. My message was also removed, as soon as it was posted.

    This is censorship, not moderation. The role of the moderator is to make sure that all points of view are discussed politely. Can deeply committed people be tolerant?


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  3. #2  
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    i personally am deeply commited to the theory that biology is nothing more than a heap of chemicals reacting. everything we observe is simply an emergent factor. this means i disagree fundamentally with any religion that has any concept of an afterlife.

    now when i discuss religion with a religious person and they express that they believe they've got a soul, or consciousness, or anything besides chemicals in them i don't censor them. and i don't ignore them, or do anything silly like that. i ask them what their evidence is for what they believe.

    if a person values logic then a few hours of discussion with me will usually change their beliefs. so, certainly there are some cases where being deeply committed to a view doesn't cause censorship or intolerance. but i think in certain cases there is no way to avoid intolerance when someone is committed to a belief.

    take for example a young child who was taught since they understood words that a humanoid creature called zorg created a flat earth, set it in its place never to move, and made the whole universe around this earth, paying special attention to humans that he formed out of dirt.

    when this child grows up and starts interacting with people, they are going to take it as a fact that what they believe is the truth, because they've never heard anything else. but when their views contradict reality, observations, and reason then they will either be forced to admit they were wrong or take drastic measures to maintain that they were right.

    psychology tells us they probably won't let go of a belief they've been told was an absolute truth since before they can remember. this person's beliefs cannot be argued to be right, it is at its roots differing from reality. in order for these beliefs not to be disproven the only method i've observed in history is censorship, intolerance, and various other attempts to silence the opposition.

    now, replace zorg with god. replace the kid you were imagining with a child raised in any number of religions by fundamentalist parents and you now understand where religious intolerance comes from. other forms stem from the same cause: ther person believes they are right, but rational thought proves otherwise.


    physics: accurate, objective, boring
    chemistry: accurate if physics is accurate, slightly subjective, you can blow stuff up
    biology: accurate if chemistry is accurate, somewhat subjective, fascinating
    religion: accurate if people are always right, highly subjective, bewildering
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  4. #3  
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    I do not know why the item was deleted. I do know that SkinWalker, for whom I have considerable respect, is sensitive to discussions on religion, especially if such discussions could lead to evangelical postings. You might wish to send a pm to Skin asking him why the item was deleted.

    Based on the extract you have provided I can see no reason for the item being deleted. As to your general point it is worth keeping in mind that all forums are privately owned sites where the owner and their designated admins/moderators can apply censorship if they wish.

    Is this tolerant? Obviously not. In such an instance the decision has been made not to tolerate this or that beaviour, this or that subject matter, or this or that viewpoint. Those decisions may often be well intentioned and arguably valid. For example, the Physics Forum does not tolerate discussions on the expanding Earth model, on the grounds that it is pseudo-science and they wish to exclude pseudo science discussions from their forum.

    You then ask what I think is an unrelated question - can committed people be tolerant. This question implies you think that moderators are in some way de facto committed. I'm not sure how you arrive at that conclusion.

    Nevertheless, I see no reason that committed people can not be tolerant. Commitment, rather than fanatacism, recognises the importance of issues and so should carry with it a respect for others who view the sames issues as important.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    ... You then ask what I think is an unrelated question - can committed people be tolerant. This question implies you think that moderators are in some way de facto committed. I'm not sure how you arrive at that conclusion.

    Nevertheless, I see no reason that committed people can not be tolerant. Commitment, rather than fanatacism, recognises the importance of issues and so should carry with it a respect for others who view the sames issues as important.
    Yes, this was a separate question. Ideally, the purpose of a discussion, for example, about global warming, is to resolve a controversy. But this makes sense only when each side shares the same methodology of validation of claims. Two scientists can logically discuss a controversy relying on experimental data. Two theologians can also logically discuss a controversy, relying on books which are holly to them.

    In both cases a controversy can be resolved, at least in principle. But what about theologians who do not share the same Holly books? And what about discussions between religious people and atheists? The only possible outcome of such discussion could be to agree to disagree.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kowalskil
    Yes, this was a separate question. Ideally, the purpose of a discussion, for example, about global warming, is to resolve a controversy. But this makes sense only when each side shares the same methodology of validation of claims. Two scientists can logically discuss a controversy relying on experimental data. Two theologians can also logically discuss a controversy, relying on books which are holly to them.

    In both cases a controversy can be resolved, at least in principle. But what about theologians who do not share the same Holly books? And what about discussions between religious people and atheists? The only possible outcome of such discussion could be to agree to disagree.
    I think you are forgetting that this is "the science forum". So, on this site, use of the scientific method is considered to be the only valid basis for discussion.

    I still don't see any reason why your observation that theologians don't use the scientific method would be deleted, though. A scientist trying to analyze someone else's behavior does well to try and understand the thought processes that underlie that behavior, whether he/she agrees with those thought processes or not. Once you start making value judgments about the object you are attempting to observe, it's safe to say that you've lost too much objectivity to be able to draw any more useful information out of your observation process. Then you might as well give up, or at least take a break and come back when you're feeling a little more dispassionate.
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