View Poll Results: Is religion/belief inherently harmful to an individual/society?

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Thread: Is belief harmful?

  1. #1 Is belief harmful? 
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    By this I mean, does the act of believing in something that may not be able to be empirically proven carry in it inherent harmful effects to either the believer or those around them? Is it possible that, (Atheist mind set coming out), belief in a supernatural event could cause the detriment of a person in that they would negatively influence those around them with thier "delusion"? Perhaps belief in the otherworldly can cause an individual to be, for lack of a better word, enlightened? So, is Belief (religion, spirituality, whatever label you want to put on it) inherently harmful?

    My case is that it is not: Belief in something can lead to hope, general well being, and can very easily promote happiness and unity amongst a society. Belief, and, subsequently religion as a whole, serves a purpose because of it's ability to unite. I can think of no other force on this planet that has done a better job of driving people together, granted it has also done the opposite historically (and recently), but if you really think about it, what culture/civilization didn't start with some kind of religion at its core?

    I would love to see a discussion follow this, with both the pro and con side presented, and I would also love to see both sides being rational, and not just attacking the other for their belief/non-belief.


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    I have the view that beliefs without evidence (like religions) could be potentially threatening, but only in the manner as serving like a breeding ground for dangerous and extreme ideologies to spring into existence.

    Faith [taught] as a virtue, as opposed to 'flexible' beliefs and beliefs founded in logic and evidence, presupposes its truthfulness and thusly leaves itself open to be interpreted to be a goal everyone should adhere to. A 'logical' path from believing a thing to be true, to thinking everyone should adhere to this belief emerges, and thus the idea that the end justifies the means is born in order to force everyone to adhere to this belief.

    Well, theoretically anyhow...

    Individually benefiting things (like comfort, reassurance, etc) which is gained from religions and other beliefs means little compared to the potential of disaster such personal beliefs might hold. It's a means for sowing the ego.

    It's my opinion that things like hope, general well being, happiness, etc, can easily be obtained without a belief in something emperically untestable.


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  4. #3 Re: Is belief harmful? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    By this I mean, does the act of believing in something that may not be able to be empirically proven carry in it inherent harmful effects to either the believer or those around them?
    Can empiricism be empirically proven?

    For instance, how do you prove that order (a prime requisite for all empirical investigation) is an integral aspect of the universe?
    Is it possible that, (Atheist mind set coming out), belief in a supernatural event could cause the detriment of a person in that they would negatively influence those around them with thier "delusion"? Perhaps belief in the otherworldly can cause an individual to be, for lack of a better word, enlightened? So, is Belief (religion, spirituality, whatever label you want to put on it) inherently harmful?
    perhaps it could be harmful for an atheist since it challenges their world view ... much like an atheist world view can be harmful to a theist ..... such is the nature of having a metaphysical stand on something (regardless of whether the metaphysics is atheist or theist)
    My case is that it is not: Belief in something can lead to hope, general well being, and can very easily promote happiness and unity amongst a society. Belief, and, subsequently religion as a whole, serves a purpose because of it's ability to unite.
    atheism also has issues of hope that unites them too.

    Although as pascal's wager indicates, the result is quite meager.
    I can think of no other force on this planet that has done a better job of driving people together, granted it has also done the opposite historically (and recently), but if you really think about it, what culture/civilization didn't start with some kind of religion at its core?
    I agree

    I would love to see a discussion follow this, with both the pro and con side presented, and I would also love to see both sides being rational, and not just attacking the other for their belief/non-belief.
    well I guess we can always hope ....
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  5. #4 Re: Is belief harmful? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    By this I mean, does the act of believing in something that may not be able to be empirically proven carry in it inherent harmful effects to either the believer or those around them?
    However much it gives a person warm fuzzy feeling, the underlying harm it causes, is quite apparent. A person who beliefs in a god and follows a book does it at the detriment of those who dont. In some ways to the extreme, Ie witchhunts, flying planes into buildings, etc...
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    A person who beliefs in a god and follows a book does it at the detriment of those who dont.

    You can say that about anything. Pol Pot did not believe in a god or follow a holy book, yet he still led a campaign of torture and genocide against 2 million people in Cambodia. So really, is belief bad, or is blind fanaticism, which can take root in anything and everything, bad?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    A person who beliefs in a god and follows a book does it at the detriment of those who dont.

    You can say that about anything. Pol Pot did not believe in a god or follow a holy book, yet he still led a campaign of torture and genocide against 2 million people in Cambodia. So really, is belief bad, or is blind fanaticism, which can take root in anything and everything, bad?
    no but he did have a godhead, he was a Theravada buddhist, you do need to read up on pol pot.
    There are/were a lot of despots some using their religion others not, yet all were crazies. However having a book that incites violence doesn't help now does it.
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    Strong belief in any ideology or faith arguably holds some potential danger to some degree. A strong belief in atheism might as well follow the 'logical' path i described earlier, however unlikely that might be.
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  9. #8 Re: Is belief harmful? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Is it possible that, (Atheist mind set coming out), belief in a supernatural event could cause the detriment of a person in that they would negatively influence those around them with thier "delusion"?
    If we looked at every single violent act committed in history in the name of a god, you might consider them a "negative influence"

    Perhaps belief in the otherworldly can cause an individual to be, for lack of a better word, enlightened?
    Enlightened to what?

    My case is that it is not: Belief in something can lead to hope, general well being, and can very easily promote happiness and unity amongst a society. Belief, and, subsequently religion as a whole, serves a purpose because of it's ability to unite. I can think of no other force on this planet that has done a better job of driving people together...
    That may be true in the Bizzarro world, but certainly not this planet. Any hope fostered by religion is a false hope, if we consider the claims of the supernatural to be false. Religion doesn't unite, it only serves to divide mankind into various cults and sects that have been warring for centuries. I can think of no other force on this planet that has wasted so many resources, energy and lives that has done a better job of driving people apart...
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    But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism. Does that mean the torturers and murders of this movement did their foul deeds because they were atheists? No, but it does mean that human beings will use anything and everything to justify their actions, however foul or depraved they may be.

    However much that book may preach violence in your eyes, there are other who would say it preaches love, tolerance, and peace. So who is right?

    Also, why ignore me geezer? I have never shown you any hostility towards your character.

    I can think of no other force on this planet that has wasted so many resources, energy and lives that has done a better job of driving people apart...

    uh...communism?
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  11. #10 Re: Is belief harmful? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    but if you really think about it, what culture/civilization didn't start with some kind of religion at its core?
    Or agriculture?

    Or human beings?

    Or...?

    While Diamond makes a case for the utility of religion in the early stages of societies (vide Guns, Germs and Steel), he makes it in the Darwinian sense - societies with religion were those in which men would, "for the cause", sacrifice themselves in battle as opposed to hunter-gatherers whose individual lives and survival opportunities were too important to be risked in full on warfare (skirmishes and raids being their metier).

    Our civilisations have outgrown these requirements and tend to prefer reason and rationality to faith - at least, our legislative and economic and political systems seem to reflect this. There are, of course, cultures in which this does not apply - the Taliban, for instance - but how many of us would oprefer such a cultutre today?

    If it comes down to choosing the reasonable or the faithful, I'd vote reasonable every time - for both the indiviual, and the society.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism.

    uh...communism?
    You statement is false as communism is NOT based on atheism. The ideals of communism stretch to every major facet of society, including religion, which is just a minor part of communism.

    It is also argued that communism's origins can be taken from Christianity.

    http://dailyatheist.blogspot.com/200...tian-seed.html
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    A person who beliefs in a god and follows a book does it at the detriment of those who dont.

    You can say that about anything. Pol Pot did not believe in a god or follow a holy book, yet he still led a campaign of torture and genocide against 2 million people in Cambodia. So really, is belief bad, or is blind fanaticism, which can take root in anything and everything, bad?
    no but he did have a godhead, he was a Theravada buddhist, you do need to read up on pol pot.
    There are/were a lot of despots some using their religion others not, yet all were crazies. However having a book that incites violence doesn't help now does it.
    I have yet to see any reference that says he is, they all say atheist.
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    Yes, the origins of communism are sparked from the OT, but that doesn't make it a religious thing, only means it got the idea from the greatest book on 'control the populace' ever made. Marx and Lenin undoubtedly read the OT, and probably took it in the same way you and I do, myth and superstition, but they went a step further, and noticed, "heeeey, look at how many people follow this pile of crap... I bet if examined how this thing actually works its magic, we could do the same thing"
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism.

    uh...communism?
    You statement is false as communism is NOT based on atheism. The ideals of communism stretch to every major facet of society, including religion, which is just a minor part of communism.

    It is also argued that communism's origins can be taken from Christianity.

    http://dailyatheist.blogspot.com/200...tian-seed.html
    "But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism. Does that mean the torturers and murders of this movement did their foul deeds because they were atheists? No, but it does mean that human beings will use anything and everything to justify their actions, however foul or depraved they may be.

    However much that book may preach violence in your eyes, there are other who would say it preaches love, tolerance, and peace. So who is right?

    Also, why ignore me geezer? I have never shown you any hostility towards your character.

    I can think of no other force on this planet that has wasted so many resources, energy and lives that has done a better job of driving people apart...

    uh...communism?"

    The segment on top is your post Q, the segment below it in quotation marks is mine.

    If you will look at my post you will see that I quoted a previous post by you Q,

    "I can think of no other force on this planet that has wasted so many resources, energy and lives that has done a better job of driving people apart...",

    and responded with "uh...communism?"

    Therefore, I was replying to your statement with the 'uh communism.'

    Now, if you would look at your post I quoted above, you have seem to have cut significant chunks out of my post in order to make it look as if I was saying Communism was founded on atheist principles and therefore atheism is evil.

    Looking at it, my post was originally this...

    "But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism. Does that mean the torturers and murders of this movement did their foul deeds because they were atheists? No, but it does mean that human beings will use anything and everything to justify their actions, however foul or depraved they may be. "

    While you edited it in your post so it looked like this...

    "But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism.

    uh...communism?"

    Now, maybe I am just naive, but it looks as if you either did not read my post in full, or, you tried to edit my post in your post so as to make me look like some crazy person who believes atheism is responsible for one of the most brutal and inhumane movements in human history. Could you care to explain dear sir, this has me very interested.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Also, why ignore me geezer? I have never shown you any hostility towards your character.
    I reply to this first, as it puzzles me, why do you think I'm ignoring you. I've never ignored anybody, apart from times when I not on this site, but when I return if I have anything to say I will. I'm sorry if you think I'm ignoring you, I'm not.
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism. Does that mean the torturers and murders of this movement did their foul deeds because they were atheists? No, but it does mean that human beings will use anything and everything to justify their actions, however foul or depraved they may be.
    What atheistic tenets, did they follow, what atheistic dogma, the fact the may have had no belief in a god is irrelevant. People of faith often claim that the crimes of Stalin, Lenin were the inevitable product of unbelief. This is a common mistake made by theists, they believe atheism is essentially socialist or communist in nature. Thus, atheism should be rejected since socialism and communism are evil. How stupid!
    the first thing we should note is there is an automatic and almost unconscious assumption made by these theists that religion is somehow equal to capitalism. Marx got his ideas for communism from the bible, Read Acts.

    Communism is not inherently atheistic. It is possible to have communistic or socialistic views while being a theist and it isn't at all wrong to be an atheist whilst staunchly defending capitalism, which is a combination often found among objectivists and libertarians.
    their existence alone demonstrates, that atheism and communism are not the same thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    However much that book may preach violence in your eyes, there are other who would say it preaches love, tolerance, and peace. So who is right?
    Not the religious thats for sure, Any holy book professing love should not have words like kill, enemy, hate, etc, written within.
    It only incites it's adherents, to do things that are evil, However they believe, their doing it for the right reasons. The holy books are nothing more than an incitement to violence.
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I can think of no other force on this planet that has wasted so many resources, energy and lives that has done a better job of driving people apart...
    uh...communism?
    Agreed, that and religion, as Communism is just another form of religion, they followed Communist Tenets, and Communist Dogma. none of those things exist within atheism.
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  17. #16  
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    Why would believing in general be bad at all? It is true that when taken to the extremes both religious and non-religious believes can cause harm, but that can be said about almost everything.

    Everything has its pro's and con's. Science has done us good, but also made certain situations worse. Same counts for believing. It can give an indvidual a lot of comfort and understanding and in hard times it can bring people together, but it can also cause missery and dissagreement. So I wouldn't call religion or believing 'harmfull' for I am not sure wether this world would be any better without.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed

    "But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism.
    Again, your statement is false, communists do not "embrace" atheism, where do you get that nonsense?

    However much that book may preach violence in your eyes, there are other who would say it preaches love, tolerance, and peace. So who is right?
    The words in the book, of course.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis
    Why would believing in general be bad at all? It is true that when taken to the extremes both religious and non-religious believes can cause harm, but that can be said about almost everything.

    Everything has its pro's and con's. Science has done us good, but also made certain situations worse. Same counts for believing. It can give an indvidual a lot of comfort and understanding and in hard times it can bring people together, but it can also cause missery and dissagreement. So I wouldn't call religion or believing 'harmfull' for I am not sure wether this world would be any better without.
    I agree with all of that completely.

    People say that religion has done terrible things and they are correct. They also say that atheism would not result in such atrocities. But what people fail to take into account is that it is only now that religion is on the decline. To say atheism is any better than religion is false as their is no historical comparison to be made. Maybe in a few hundred years time when atheism is by far and away the leading world view we will see the shoe on the other foot.

    In my opinion the new atheism is actually alot more aggressive and hostile than orthodox christianity and I think that this will continue for many centuries to come until religion (in the west at least) is totally eradicated.

    Looking to now though, it appears to me that atheism has the exact same potential to cause the harm religion has. One merely has to go to China to see what happens in some areas to religious people.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed

    "But he launched a campaign of genocide based so as to create a peasant utopia free from the evils of "intellectuals." The Khmer Rouge was a Communist group and like many other communist groups embraced atheism.
    Again, your statement is false, communists do not "embrace" atheism, where do you get that nonsense?

    However much that book may preach violence in your eyes, there are other who would say it preaches love, tolerance, and peace. So who is right?
    The words in the book, of course.
    Marx himself wrote that Religion is nothing more than the opiate of the masses and should be marginalized and eradicated. All communist states in history have embraced some sort of state supported atheism and persecuted the religious in their territory. Atheism is very much part of the communist mindset.

    Geezer, that is called interpretation. You read a holy book and see a message of hate, others of love. You immediately say they are wrong, yet that is their interpretation, as is yours, so how can you discount them? The fact that somebody takes something good out of a holy book while you believe, believe, that they could only take something bad out of it nullifies your argument that all holy books do is cause pain and evil. Please dont be so arrogant that you are completely right and everyone else is wrong.

    Communism is not a religion, but an ideology. You are using the term religion to broadly in an attempt to make everything bad a religion and everything not not a religion.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Geezer, that is called interpretation. You read a holy book and see a message of hate, others of love. You immediately say they are wrong, yet that is their interpretation, as is yours, so how can you discount them?
    I don't, hate comes from the individual, the book itself only promotes bad things, the individual decides what course he takes, however in the religious man case he is indoctrinated into believing what he is doing is right and as such does not see it as hate, just a righteous cause.
    Remove the weapon from the angry persons hand, and their rage will subside, IE; remove the incitement to violence and a more peaceful world will ensue.
    (No holy book professing love should contain words like enemy, kill, killing, murder, etc...)
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The fact that somebody takes something good out of a holy book
    Why of course they only take the good, as it's all good to them, they are blinkered to the bad, everything the religious do or say has a righteous cause.
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    while you believe, believe, that they could only take something bad out
    Ah but I don't it is what is written in these books, I have no belief in them one way or the other.
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    of it nullifies your argument that all holy books do is cause pain and evil.
    I didn't say that, I said they incite violence which by history is shown to be true.
    Christian Barbarity
    http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/1000years.htm
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Please don't be so arrogant that, you are completely right and everyone else is wrong.
    I'm not, I'm just stating facts. it is clear by history, that religion is an abomination, The new religion of Socialism/Communism, has been shown to be equally as bad, if not worse.
    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Communism is not a religion, but an ideology. You are using the term religion to broadly in an attempt to make everything bad a religion and everything not(Good) not a religion.
    No, I'm just stating how things are, anything with a set of tenets and doctrines, is a religion in the true sense of the word.
    Ideology
    the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.

    Religion
    a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects
    A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.


    Socialism/Communism
    a set of beliefs which states that all people are equal and should share equally in the wealth of the country, or the political systems based on these beliefs.

    It's just choosing one cult for another tis all, Communism is a Religion derived from Christianity, much the same as Protestantism from Catholicism.
    See here Acts 4:33-35, Acts 5:1-11 this holy book is basically a Communist Manifesto.
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  22. #21  
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    Beliefs are good if they enable a person/society to get the best out of themselves and make the most out of life.

    If a person/ society holds a belief to the detriment to itself through sheer bloodymindedness/ignorance/pride, then that makes the belief bad, because it becomes harmful.

    I think it is wrong for anyone society or individual to enforce it's/their beliefs onto another person or society.

    We all hold beliefs about virtually everything we are and about everything we do. Belief is inescapable if you want to live.

    A strong person holds to their beliefs and principles, but it's the wise who know when to let go.

    Beliefs should be like a travel ticket you retain to complete a leg of a journey, where you are prepared buy a new ticket and change trains if your direction changes.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed

    Marx himself wrote that Religion is nothing more than the opiate of the masses and should be marginalized and eradicated. All communist states in history have embraced some sort of state supported atheism and persecuted the religious in their territory. Atheism is very much part of the communist mindset.
    Perhaps you might want to take the time to understand what communism is about and what it entails rather then tossing a one-liner from Marx.
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    He actually did post more than a one-liner from Marx. He posted that All communist states in history had a form of state supported atheism. And, quite frankly, that's true. The communist states that have been in existence have all been atheist, and communist is much more extreme than socialist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    He actually did post more than a one-liner from Marx. He posted that All communist states in history had a form of state supported atheism. And, quite frankly, that's true. The communist states that have been in existence have all been atheist, and communist is much more extreme than socialist.
    *sigh*

    When are you people going to learn communism is not about atheism? Dumbasses.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    He actually did post more than a one-liner from Marx. He posted that All communist states in history had a form of state supported atheism. And, quite frankly, that's true. The communist states that have been in existence have all been atheist, and communist is much more extreme than socialist.
    *sigh*

    When are you people going to learn communism is not about atheism? Dumbasses.
    You're right, but you can't deny the evidence that all states were atheistic.

    The argument isn't that it's the main point, only an integral part, which it is. Communism won't work without a state-imposed 'ban' on religion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    You're right, but you can't deny the evidence that all states were atheistic.
    You don't seem to really get it. Atheism was a small component, a cog in the big wheel of communism. I lived in the USSR for a year, I should know a little something about it.

    Communism won't work without a state-imposed 'ban' on religion.
    Again, any one of many cogs that make up the huge wheel of communism would stifle it. Many of those cogs were far more important to make sure they were instilled than atheism.
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    I, for one, am extremely alarmed at the rampant use of the word belief in, especially, the USA today.

    Somewhere in the past 15 years, it has been accepted more and more that a person's beliefs should be respected and are given special consideration.

    Why?

    If a belief is ludicrous, why should we go on respecting it?

    More to the point, why should scientists respect religion in any way?
    Is it not a method of understanding reality that was invented in the Bronze Age?
    Is it not fundamentally flawed due to the lack of scientific tools, methods, and indeed, basic understanding that was impossible for the time?

    So why respect it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Sensei
    I, for one, am extremely alarmed at the rampant use of the word belief in, especially, the USA today.

    Somewhere in the past 15 years, it has been accepted more and more that a person's beliefs should be respected and are given special consideration.

    Why?

    If a belief is ludicrous, why should we go on respecting it?

    More to the point, why should scientists respect religion in any way?
    Is it not a method of understanding reality that was invented in the Bronze Age?
    Is it not fundamentally flawed due to the lack of scientific tools, methods, and indeed, basic understanding that was impossible for the time?

    So why respect it?
    It's a great question that few would answer honestly.

    Indoctrination is what primarily drives religions, it has little to do with faith or belief and everything to do with what people have been forced to believe since childhood.

    To respect religion is to respect indoctrination.
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    While I agree with that last statement, I do not think it addresses what I asked.



    To word it another way, I put forward that to indiscriminately respect and uphold anyone's tenant so long as "it's my BELIEF" is to really make an error in critical thinking.

    If Joe Blo believes the moon is made of Limburger, who is going to respect him for that?
    So why do so many people -today- automatically respect equally ludicrous religious-based beliefs?
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Sensei
    I, for one, am extremely alarmed at the rampant use of the word belief in, especially, the USA today.

    Somewhere in the past 15 years, it has been accepted more and more that a person's beliefs should be respected and are given special consideration.

    Why?

    If a belief is ludicrous, why should we go on respecting it?
    And who gets to decide that a belief is ludicrous? You see the problem is that such a judgement, that a belief is ludicrous, is itself a belief. So the real question here is what sort of respect for the beliefs of others are we talking about here. Obviously there are have to be some limits. Just because someone believes that all human beings should be eradictated from existence does not mean we should let that person enact a program of eradication. The limit we draw in a free society upon acting on ones beliefs is where they infringe on the same freedoms of others.

    In other words there is a consistency restriction here. Our respect for the beliefs of others must be limited by be the fact that we must have this respect for the beliefs and liberties of everyone. Therefore beliefs which are opposed to or inconsistent with the principles of a free society must be opposed by those who believe in a free society to whatever degree is required. For example, belief that adulterers should be stoned to death is not compatable with a free society and should be opposed. This does not mean we should go out and kill those who believe it but that we should certainly prevent them from acting on it and condemn their sentiments.


    Quote Originally Posted by C_Sensei
    More to the point, why should scientists respect religion in any way?
    In doing the work of science, they certainly should not. But "respect in any way?" Absolutely! For example, they do not have the right to walk into a church and spray anti-religious grafitti on the walls. But more importantly, despite their common delusions to the contrary, being an atheist does not make someone a scientist and their zeal for their anti-religious beliefs is not science. Unsubstantiated opinions in opposition to religion is no more science than unsubstantiated opinions in support of religion. We must be careful not to let the used-car salesmen and their religious and anti-religious relatives pass themselves off as scientists in order equate their opinions and rhetoric with the findings of science.


    Quote Originally Posted by C_Sensei
    Is it not a method of understanding reality that was invented in the Bronze Age?

    Is it not fundamentally flawed due to the lack of scientific tools, methods, and indeed, basic understanding that was impossible for the time?

    So why respect it?
    Because if you do not respect others then you have no right to expect others to have any respect for you. But you certainly have every right to expect them to respect your belief that they are wrong as much as you respect their belief that you are wrong. But what happens when we extend this to an demand that you respect their belief that you are stupid and/or evil, as much as you can expect them to respect your belief that they are stupid and/or evil. The inconsistency that arises in this mutuality not only limits your right to act on such beliefs but also logically creates an atmosphere of condemnation for intolerant beliefs like these.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)

    Indoctrination is what primarily drives religions, it has little to do with faith or belief and everything to do with what people have been forced to believe since childhood.

    To respect religion is to respect indoctrination.
    How would you eliminate indoctrination? Where would you start? What would be your cut off for acceptable?
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey

    How would you eliminate indoctrination?
    Teaching.
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    Teaching what?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    And who gets to decide that a belief is ludicrous? You see the problem is that such a judgement, that a belief is ludicrous, is itself a belief.

    So the real question here is what sort of respect for the beliefs of others are we talking about here. Obviously there are have to be some limits. Just because someone believes that all human beings should be eradictated from existence does not mean we should let that person enact a program of eradication. The limit we draw in a free society upon acting on ones beliefs is where they infringe on the same freedoms of others.

    In other words there is a consistency restriction here. Our respect for the beliefs of others must be limited by be the fact that we must have this respect for the beliefs and liberties of everyone. Therefore beliefs which are opposed to or inconsistent with the principles of a free society must be opposed by those who believe in a free society to whatever degree is required. For example, belief that adulterers should be stoned to death is not compatable with a free society and should be opposed. This does not mean we should go out and kill those who believe it but that we should certainly prevent them from acting on it and condemn their sentiments.
    Indeed, but your example deals in extremes. How about more mundane examples such as the belief is made out of cheese (per C_Sensei's post)? No one is saying that we should "go out and kill" mooncheesists. But neither should the beliefs of mooncheesists be respected. A mooncheesists should not be able to use "my beliefs are not being respected!" as a means to silence those that question the validity of mooncheesism. Mooncheesists should not be able to issue fatwahs against amooncheesists because they don't accept mooncheesism as the "one, true" belief.

    While your argumentation was eloquent, it entirely missed the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In doing the work of science, they certainly should not. But "respect in any way?" Absolutely! For example, they do not have the right to walk into a church and spray anti-religious grafitti on the walls. But more importantly, despite their common delusions to the contrary, being an atheist does not make someone a scientist and their zeal for their anti-religious beliefs is not science. Unsubstantiated opinions in opposition to religion is no more science than unsubstantiated opinions in support of religion. We must be careful not to let the used-car salesmen and their religious and anti-religious relatives pass themselves off as scientists in order equate their opinions and rhetoric with the findings of science.
    Indeed, C_Sensei. Atheist does not equal scientist and scientist does not equal atheist.

    I think the question should've been "More to the point, why should anyone respect religion in any way?". To which the answer is, "people shouldn't respect any belief that isn't held for good reasons".

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Because if you do not respect others then you have no right to expect others to have any respect for you.
    He's not asking about "respecting others", MM. He's asking about respecting beliefs. People are not their beliefs.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But you certainly have every right to expect them to respect your belief that they are wrong as much as you respect their belief that you are wrong.
    Why? Why do child molesters have every right to expect others to respect their beliefs? Or do we accept that not all beliefs are held for good reasons and therefore not all beliefs are worthy of our respect? Think about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But what happens when we extend this to an demand that you respect their belief that you are stupid and/or evil, as much as you can expect them to respect your belief that they are stupid and/or evil. The inconsistency that arises in this mutuality not only limits your right to act on such beliefs but also logically creates an atmosphere of condemnation for intolerant beliefs like these.
    Which is why unexamined beliefs are dangerous.
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    Why do child molesters have every right to expect others to respect their beliefs?
    What are the beliefs of child molesters?
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    That's it's okay to molest children.

    If you don't like that example, we can use another. My preference would be that we address the point rather than the analogy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    That's it's okay to molest children.

    If you don't like that example, we can use another. My preference would be that we address the point rather than the analogy.
    So if you were to come upon a father 'raping' his infant son you would consider that this was due to his ill founded beliefs which you did not and could not be expected to respect. However if you looked closely and realised that it was a father bonobo chimp using sex as a form of social bonding with his infant son, a regular and normal practice in these chimps, you would then be assured that being scientifically proven to be 'normal' behaviour it was now respectable?

    If you don't like that example we can use another one, pederasty in the Greeks for instance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    That's it's okay to molest children.

    If you don't like that example, we can use another. My preference would be that we address the point rather than the analogy.
    So if you were to come upon a father 'raping' his infant son you would consider that this was due to his ill founded beliefs which you did not and could not be expected to respect. However if you looked closely and realised that it was a father bonobo chimp using sex as a form of social bonding with his infant son, a regular and normal practice in these chimps, you would then be assured that being scientifically proven to be 'normal' behaviour it was now respectable?

    If you don't like that example we can use another one, pederasty in the Greeks for instance.
    I'll repeat:

    If you don't like that example, we can use another. My preference would be that we address the point rather than the analogy.

    Apparently it's your preference to avoid the point and instead debate the analogy. Why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    I'll repeat:

    If you don't like that example, we can use another. My preference would be that we address the point rather than the analogy.

    Apparently it's your preference to avoid the point and instead debate the analogy. Why?
    I'm addressing the point:

    What is the harmful belief here?

    That we should use science to arrive at conclusions about the basis of human actions?

    Or the belief that we should not? What would you pick?

    What point of view do you "respect" more?
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    I'm addressing the point:
    No you are not. Here is what I said:

    "Or do we accept that not all beliefs are held for good reasons and therefore not all beliefs are worthy of our respect?"

    Nothing about "harmful". We can discuss harmful (and in fact already have elsewhere) if you would like, but that will be a separate conversation from this one.

    NOTE: I find it interesting that the sentence above immediately followed the one that you quoted. It's almost as though you choose to remain willfully ignorant of my point in order to argue something completely unrelated.

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    What is the harmful belief here?

    That we should use science to arrive at conclusions about the basis of human actions?

    Or the belief that we should not? What would you pick?

    What point of view do you "respect" more?
    I certainly don't think that we should accept claims for bad reason. And not only accepting claims based on bad reasons, but rewarding or holding such thinking in high esteem seems patently ignorant. Explain to me why such practices are worthy of respect. Tell me when we started regarding foolishness as a virtue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    "Or do we accept that not all beliefs are held for good reasons and therefore not all beliefs are worthy of our respect?"


    I certainly don't think that we should accept claims for bad reason. And not only accepting claims based on bad reasons, but rewarding or holding such thinking in high esteem seems patently ignorant. Explain to me why such practices are worthy of respect. Tell me when we started regarding foolishness as a virtue.
    What do you base your "respect" for any beliefs on?
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    What do you base your "respect" for any beliefs on?
    I accept arguments based on the good reasons for doing so. With regards to the topic, I have yet to encounter any good arguments for the existence of god, therefore I have no reason to give the claim any more respect than I would the claim that gnomes steal people's underwear. And the more loudly the people peddling this claim demand respect (while simultaneously insisting that they do not need to provide any evidence for said claim), the less inclined I am to give it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    I accept arguments based on the good reasons for doing so. With regards to the topic, I have yet to encounter any good arguments for the existence of god, therefore I have no reason to give the claim any more respect than I would the claim that gnomes steal people's underwear. And the more loudly the people peddling this claim demand respect (while simultaneously insisting that they do not need to provide any evidence for said claim), the less inclined I am to give it.
    So basically you only respect claims that you find convincing. Wow, thats so...original.
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    So basically you only respect claims that you find convincing. Wow, thats so...original.
    I only respect claims that have supporting evidence. Take the strawmen elsewhere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    I only respect claims that have supporting evidence. Take the strawmen elsewhere.
    Yeah right. I bet you never believed anyone or anything in your life without a paper trail. Puhleese.

    Just for kicks, would you change your position on molestation if there was a biological basis for it? Or would it still be not worthy of your respect for child molesters to think its okay to molest a child? What position would you take, based on your definition of respectful claims?
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Yeah right. I bet you never believed anyone or anything in your life without a paper trail. Puhleese.
    Of course I have. As I have quite openly admitted previously, I was a theist for many years. I spent a significant portion of my early adulthood enamored with astrology (I even have a tattoo of my chinese zodiac sign). And like most children who have lived in North America, I maintained a very active belief in Santa Claus for nearly a decade.

    Of course, I'm not sure what this strawman (another in the series) has to do with anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Just for kicks, would you change your position on molestation if there was a biological basis for it?
    No because it wouldn't supersede the moral arguments against it. You would need to provide a superior moral argument in order to change my current position.

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Or would it still be not worthy of your respect for child molesters to think its okay to molest a child?
    I think it bears pointing out that "child molesters" and "the beliefs of child molesters" are not the same thing.

    I think theists refer to this as "hate the sin, not the sinner"?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    What position would you take, based on your definition of respectful claims?
    See above.

    P.S. Do you have any intent to address the point anytime soon, or are you simply here to troll and waste my time with strawmen?
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    No because it wouldn't supersede the moral arguments against it
    So the moral arguments supercede the supporting evidence?
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    consider a situation where, biologically, you want to have sex and, seeing a person you are attracted to, you succumb to that biological desire and have sex with them, forcibly. Now, morally, this is called rape, regardless of your reasons for doing said action. Does the biological desire trump the moral argument? In mine and a LARGE portion of the civilized world's opinion, that would be a no, it's still a horrible thing to do and very indefensible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    consider a situation where, biologically, you want to have sex and, seeing a person you are attracted to, you succumb to that biological desire and have sex with them, forcibly. Now, morally, this is called rape, regardless of your reasons for doing said action. Does the biological desire trump the moral argument? In mine and a LARGE portion of the civilized world's opinion, that would be a no, it's still a horrible thing to do and very indefensible.
    So its the moral opinion of what you define as the civilised world [note that much of the world is considered backward and savage, aboriginal, tribal etc] supercedes scientific supporting evidence?

    I'm just trying to understand what you mean when you say you respect claims which have supporting evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    I'm just trying to understand what you mean when you say you respect claims which have supporting evidence.
    If there is no evidence for god, then there is no reason to respect the claim that god exists.
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    I see the statement "god exists" = "the little green refrigerator man exists. He turns the fridge light on and off. He runs faster than you can see!"

    They are equal fantasy.


    When you disprove the various attributes of the god, do you not disprove the existence of said god? At least in the way it is depicted?
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    Sam, Biological evidence and moral evidence are different. Actions, beliefs, whatever; in a societal setting, the moral standard has precedence over the biological in nearly if not all cases. Despite it's normality in the animal kingdom, man shows time and time again that we regard ourselves differently.

    And besides, it's normal for male seahorses to carry unborn babies in their stomach, are you telling me I should have my unborn children implanted into my stomach so that I can birth them? Puh-lease...
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    [note that much of the world is considered backward and savage, aboriginal, tribal etc]
    Define much of the world. By population, no, much of the world is not. As a matter of fact, using population, a mass majority is not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Actions, beliefs, whatever; in a societal setting, the moral standard has precedence over the biological in nearly if not all cases. Despite it's normality in the animal kingdom, man shows time and time again that we regard ourselves differently.
    That was the justification for the persistence of slavery, racism and bigotry against homosexuals and backward peoples. It was also the reasoning behind seminal events like the Holocaust and the sterilisation of the mentally challenged in the 1930s. Its currently used by pro-lifers as the argument against abortion.
    And besides, it's normal for male seahorses to carry unborn babies in their stomach, are you telling me I should have my unborn children implanted into my stomach so that I can birth them? Puh-lease...
    Only if you think sea horses are considered representative of your species for behavioural studies.

    So, what is your stance on beliefs? What do you consider a "harmful" belief?


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    [note that much of the world is considered backward and savage, aboriginal, tribal etc]
    Define much of the world. By population, no, much of the world is not. As a matter of fact, using population, a mass majority is not.
    So you consider the practices of mainland Russia, China or South East Asia or Africa or South America or the Middle East as representative of your values and beliefs?


    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    If there is no evidence for god, then there is no reason to respect the claim that god exists.
    What would you consider as "evidence for God"?

    What would you recognise and respect as true?
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Actions, beliefs, whatever; in a societal setting, the moral standard has precedence over the biological in nearly if not all cases. Despite it's normality in the animal kingdom, man shows time and time again that we regard ourselves differently.
    That was the justification for the persistence of slavery, racism and bigotry against homosexuals and backward peoples. It was also the reasoning behind seminal events like the Holocaust and the sterilisation of the mentally challenged in the 1930s. Its currently used by pro-lifers as the argument against abortion.
    and look at how those examples are panning out. Majority rules against them at this current stage of moral evolution, and in their time, it WAS the morally right thing, just like it is for pro-lifers, who, by the way, are LOSING the fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    And besides, it's normal for male seahorses to carry unborn babies in their stomach, are you telling me I should have my unborn children implanted into my stomach so that I can birth them? Puh-lease...
    Only if you think sea horses are considered representative of your species for behavioural studies.
    you quoted an animal, as I did. Do you feel a monkey is representative of your species for behavioral studies?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    So, what is your stance on beliefs? What do you consider a "harmful" belief?
    I don't. My stance is that beliefs in and of themselves are not harmful, only the practice and potential application, which would come as decisions and choices made by individuals about those beliefs. And this isn't concerning something ludicrous like the belief in molesting children or the belief in fighting people, but a religious belief.


    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    [note that much of the world is considered backward and savage, aboriginal, tribal etc]
    Define much of the world. By population, no, much of the world is not. As a matter of fact, using population, a mass majority is not.
    So you consider the practices of mainland Russia, China or South East Asia or Africa or South America or the Middle East as representative of your values and beliefs?
    Quite bit, yes. I do agree with much of the morals of China, mainland Russia, and a fair amount of the middle east. But I wouldn't consider any of them backward, savage, nor tribal. They are quite advanced. And where is a massive amount of population? China, India, North America and Europe take up more than half the worlds population. All civilized, at least to an extent that puts them in a similar moral category (that includes China).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    and look at how those examples are panning out. Majority rules against them at this current stage of moral evolution, and in their time, it WAS the morally right thing, just like it is for pro-lifers, who, by the way, are LOSING the fight.
    So you see a similar outcome for child molesters?
    you quoted an animal, as I did. Do you feel a monkey is representative of your species for behavioral studies?
    Umm yeah? Is there any reason I shouldn't?

    I don't. My stance is that beliefs in and of themselves are not harmful, only the practice and potential application, which would come as decisions and choices made by individuals about those beliefs. And this isn't concerning something ludicrous like the belief in molesting children or the belief in fighting people, but a religious belief.
    And yet, you can see where molesting children or fighting people can be justified by science. Yet, its religious belief that bothers you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    ]Quite bit, yes. I do agree with much of the morals of China, mainland Russia, and a fair amount of the middle east. But I wouldn't consider any of them backward, savage, nor tribal. They are quite advanced. And where is a massive amount of population? China, India, North America and Europe take up more than half the worlds population. All civilized, at least to an extent that puts them in a similar moral category (that includes China).

    So going back to where this argument started:


    consider a situation where, biologically, you want to have sex and, seeing a person you are attracted to, you succumb to that biological desire and have sex with them, forcibly. Now, morally, this is called rape, regardless of your reasons for doing said action. Does the biological desire trump the moral argument? In mine and a LARGE portion of the civilized world's opinion, that would be a no, it's still a horrible thing to do and very indefensible.
    You agree that moral arguments trump biological ones and thats what constitutes civilised society.

    What makes an argument immoral?
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    What would you consider as "evidence for God"?

    What would you recognise and respect as true?
    Anything for which the only possible explanation was god. And in order for christians to be right, it would have to be not just any god, but their interpretation of god and so on for the muslims, etc.

    If you need something more specific, any of the examples from the following videos are acceptable:

    Link 1
    Link 2
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Teaching what?
    Teaching, Sam. Do you know the difference?
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  60. #59  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    P.S. Do you have any intent to address the point anytime soon, or are you simply here to troll and waste my time with strawmen?
    The only reason Sam is here (and other forums) is due to her Islamic propaganda agenda. Good luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    and look at how those examples are panning out. Majority rules against them at this current stage of moral evolution, and in their time, it WAS the morally right thing, just like it is for pro-lifers, who, by the way, are LOSING the fight.
    So you see a similar outcome for child molesters?
    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    you quoted an animal, as I did. Do you feel a monkey is representative of your species for behavioral studies?
    Umm yeah? Is there any reason I shouldn't?
    I suppose not, if you'd like to use an analog for your species in place of your actual species.

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    I don't. My stance is that beliefs in and of themselves are not harmful, only the practice and potential application, which would come as decisions and choices made by individuals about those beliefs. And this isn't concerning something ludicrous like the belief in molesting children or the belief in fighting people, but a religious belief.
    And yet, you can see where molesting children or fighting people can be justified by science. Yet, its religious belief that bothers you.
    the former, no, not in humans, and the latter, yes, and I also see where it's morally applicable (same place as biologically, mind you). In all reality, religious belief DOESN'T bother me, and that's the thing. Moral arguments carry more weight and tend to be more in evidence than the biological argument for a moral issue.


    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    consider a situation where, biologically, you want to have sex and, seeing a person you are attracted to, you succumb to that biological desire and have sex with them, forcibly. Now, morally, this is called rape, regardless of your reasons for doing said action. Does the biological desire trump the moral argument? In mine and a LARGE portion of the civilized world's opinion, that would be a no, it's still a horrible thing to do and very indefensible.
    You agree that moral arguments trump biological ones and thats what constitutes civilised society.

    What makes an argument immoral?
    that's not what constitutes civilized society, but it certainly is a characteristic of those societies, in a manner of speaking. An argument becomes immoral when, in the eyes of the person's society, the argument is breaking a moral code of conduct. The person may see it as completely moral and viable, but if the society s/he lives in doesn't, then it's not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    P.S. Do you have any intent to address the point anytime soon, or are you simply here to troll and waste my time with strawmen?
    The only reason Sam is here (and other forums) is due to her Islamic propaganda agenda. Good luck!
    I haven't seen Sam spout one word in favor of islam in the entire time I've been here, is she REALLY spreading propaganda?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    that's not what constitutes civilized society, but it certainly is a characteristic of those societies, in a manner of speaking. An argument becomes immoral when, in the eyes of the person's society, the argument is breaking a moral code of conduct. The person may see it as completely moral and viable, but if the society s/he lives in doesn't, then it's not.
    So civilisation is the imposition of subjective socially agreed upon moral authority which may supercede biological imperative.

    Does this mean that moral stance, which is based on belief, is dependent on society? Or is it independent of society?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    Anything for which the only possible explanation was god. And in order for christians to be right, it would have to be not just any god, but their interpretation of god and so on for the muslims, etc.

    If you need something more specific, any of the examples from the following videos are acceptable:
    So you would accept as evidence of God, something that would fit someone else's interpretation of God?

    What do you mean, the only possible explanation was God? Do you see God as separate and distinct from other phenomena?

    I suppose not, if you'd like to use an analog for your species in place of your actual species.
    So when scientists extrapolate simian behaviour to humans, they are being premature?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    I haven't seen Sam spout one word in favor of islam in the entire time I've been here, is she REALLY spreading propaganda?
    Its all very subliminal. One day you'll wake up and start praying to Allah and you will have no idea why.


    mwahahahahahahahah!
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    I haven't seen Sam spout one word in favor of islam in the entire time I've been here, is she REALLY spreading propaganda?
    Its all very subliminal. One day you'll wake up and start praying to Allah and you will have no idea why.


    mwahahahahahahahah!
    That happened to me!

    I blamed the combination of alcohol and solvent-rich oil paints the night before, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    So you would accept as evidence of God, something that would fit someone else's interpretation of God?
    The evidence would have to fit the criteria for whatever claim was put forth. The onus is on the claimant to be specific with their claim.

    Likewise if I were to put forth the claim that the Earth goes around the Sun, I would need to show that the Earth orbits the Sun and not some other celestial body.

    If christians want me to accept their interpretation of god, then they need to provide evidence that supports that interpretation only. Finding evidence for a god does very little to support the specific claim you might put forth for your god.

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    What do you mean, the only possible explanation was God? Do you see God as separate and distinct from other phenomena?
    Of course. When an apple falls from a tree, I can either invoke god or gravity. So long as gravity answers the question, the god response is unnecessary.

    You would need to put forth a situation in which there was no other possible explanation other than god (and no god of the gaps won't suffice).
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    The evidence would have to fit the criteria for whatever claim was put forth. The onus is on the claimant to be specific with their claim.

    Of course. When an apple falls from a tree, I can either invoke god or gravity. So long as gravity answers the question, the god response is unnecessary.

    You would need to put forth a situation in which there was no other possible explanation other than god (and no god of the gaps won't suffice).
    Thats an interesting insight into how you think.

    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    That happened to me!

    I blamed the combination of alcohol and solvent-rich oil paints the night before, though.
    So now you know. 8)
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Thats an interesting insight into how you think.
    Last time I checked it was also how critical thought and scientific inquiry worked as well.

    Glad I was able to provide some insight. Take care.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    Last time I checked it was also how critical thought and scientific inquiry worked as well.

    Glad I was able to provide some insight. Take care.
    Must have missed that part in my 15 years of working in science. Take care. :P
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    Too bad none of it has rubbed off on you.

    Goes to show that putting a feather-duster up your butt won't make you a chicken either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Too bad none of it has rubbed off on you.

    Goes to show that putting a feather-duster up your butt won't make you a chicken either.
    Yeah clearly, the idea that the scientific method is choosing between god and gravity is one I must explore fully to become accomplished as a scientist. I must reveal this fascinating insight at the next conference.
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    dont worry sam, in another forum topic phoenixg is also an expert historian, sort of a jack of all trades, if you have not heard he is right and everyone else is wrong
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    Yeah clearly, the idea that the scientific method is choosing between god and gravity is one I must explore fully to become accomplished as a scientist.
    So sorry to hear that you missed the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by samcdkey
    I must reveal this fascinating insight at the next conference.
    Best of luck with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    dont worry sam, in another forum topic phoenixg is also an expert historian, sort of a jack of all trades, if you have not heard he is right and everyone else is wrong
    Well I will surely acknowledge that one of us is claiming to know more than they actually do. Judging by the fact that you don't even seem to be able to engage the topic, let alone refute my points, I don't see much evidence that would indicate that it's me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    dont worry sam, in another forum topic phoenixg is also an expert historian, sort of a jack of all trades, if you have not heard he is right and everyone else is wrong
    Nah, I am just nonplussed that he admits directly that he does not care to think for himself and we are supposed to consider that as a valued opinion.
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    I think it depends on religon to religon. Some religons are good, some bad.

    Take Christianity for example. Aside from believing in God, it encourages you to be an overall good person such as being kind, thankful, generous, forgiving, etc.

    On the other hand, some religions can be harmful, for example religons that believe in karma.

    Karma (IMHO) creates an environment that allows bad things to happen. It's "ok" for whatever to happen, because there's a divine reason behind it. Although extreme, one example is someone getting raped. No one does anything about it because the person is "getting what they deserve".
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    I'm not sure how willing I am to accept the "some religions are good/bad" argument, brushman.

    Certainly some beliefs are good and some beliefs are bad. There are some beliefs within religion that are good and should be promoted, however I think you would be hard pressed to come up with an example of a good belief for which religion is a necessary factor (for example, the categorical imperative vs the golden rule).

    Also, I think you completely missed the boat with regards to karma. The idea is that if you do something bad, you not only won't get away with it, but will get it back with interest. Surely, you would agree that this is not a philosophy that "creates an environment that allows bad things to happen".
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    brushman is simply presenting the usual dodge of the religious.

    If atheism can also provide you with a set of morals to act on, then why do you even need religion?

    How then can atheists causing LESS crime than the religious be explained? Check your prisons. How many of the violent crime inmates are religious vs atheists?

    http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm
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    Karma gets abused by wrongdoers. They (including the wrongdoer and observers) think actions harmful to others are justified, because according to karma, they had good reason (IE the person did something bad, so they had it coming to them).

    If atheism can also provide you with a set of morals to act on, then why do you even need religion?
    You can have good morals reguardless of your beliefs. I think believing in God/Jesus gets you into Heaven, reguardless of your other actions on earth. You cannot prove there is a God. Instead, I have faith there is.

    How then can atheists causing LESS crime than the religious be explained? Check your prisons. How many of the violent crime inmates are religious vs atheists?
    As far as I can tell this is misleading, because there is a much higher percentage of Christians then athiests.

    Christians are no better people then athiests. Only thing is, (IMHO) Christians are heading in the right direction.

    There's always exceptions of course. I find extremely conservative christians to be rediculous. For example, the ones that believe the Earth was made in 6 days, or that think the bible conflicts with evolution. But we must head them in the right direction, and love everyone
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    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    Karma gets abused by wrongdoers. They (including the wrongdoer and observers) think actions harmful to others are justified, because according to karma, they had good reason (IE the person did something bad, so they had it coming to them).
    Which would seem to posit that those doing the wrongdoing don't think that karma applies to them. I guess I don't see how this is very consistent.

    I'm not saying that you are wrong. I am saying I don't see how your argument makes very much sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    You can have good morals reguardless of your beliefs. I think believing in God/Jesus gets you into Heaven, reguardless of your other actions on earth. You cannot prove there is a God. Instead, I have faith there is.
    Since it seems that your decision is arbitary, don't you worry that you've picked the wrong god? If believing in god and jesus is all I need to get into heaven, then why behave morally at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    As far as I can tell this is misleading, because there is a much higher percentage of Christians then athiests.
    It's not misleading at all.

    Let's say that 50% of americans are christian, 45% follow miscellaneous other religions, and 5% are atheists.

    If we were to posit that criminals come from an even distribution of all religious backgrounds, then when we look at the prison data we would see 50% of all prisoners were christian, 45% other, and 5% atheists, if the hypothesis were correct.

    If we were to suggest that christians were more moral and athiests less moral, then we would expect to see something like 5% christian inmates, 45% other, and 50% atheists.

    But this isn't what we see. What we see is that almost all prison inmates are christian and a very, very small percentage are atheists. We should be careful not confuse correlation with causation, however we can very easily see that the suggestion that atheist are either less likely to commit major crimes than christians, or are far better at not getting caught.

    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    Christians are no better people then athiests. Only thing is, (IMHO) Christians are heading in the right direction.
    We have no way of knowing that. Perhaps if we had some reason to accept the idea that heaven exists, etc we could say. Furthermore, per the discussion above, the high concentration of christians in the prison population would seem to be evidence against your hypothesis.

    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    There's always exceptions of course. I find extremely conservative christians to be rediculous. For example, the ones that believe the Earth was made in 6 days, or that think the bible conflicts with evolution.
    Well, the bible does conflict with evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    But we must head them in the right direction, and love everyone
    I agree that this is a very nice idea.
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    It's not misleading at all.

    Let's say that 50% of americans are christian, 45% follow miscellaneous other religions, and 5% are atheists.

    If we were to posit that criminals come from an even distribution of all religious backgrounds, then when we look at the prison data we would see 50% of all prisoners were christian, 45% other, and 5% atheists, if the hypothesis were correct.

    If we were to suggest that christians were more moral and athiests less moral, then we would expect to see something like 5% christian inmates, 45% other, and 50% atheists.

    But this isn't what we see. What we see is that almost all prison inmates are christian and a very, very small percentage are atheists. We should be careful not confuse correlation with causation, however we can very easily see that the suggestion that atheist are either less likely to commit major crimes than christians, or are far better at not getting caught.
    All the statistics I looked at showed American populations as ~76% Christian. This lines up approximately equal to prison population.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    All the statistics I looked at showed American populations as ~76% Christian. This lines up approximately equal to prison population.
    Mind sharing your sources?
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    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu/weblogs/AmericanReligionSurvey-ARIS/reports/ARIS_Report_2008.pdf

    http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/af...traditions.pdf
    Thanks. I should have been more specific though. Can I also ask for you prison population sources?

    The reason I asked before I that the last set of stats I looked at had the christian prison population near (if not in) the 90's. This would mean that the christians were over-represented in the corrections system.
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    http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm

    It comes out to about ~80% christian prison population. BTW I don't consider Jews, Mormons, or the like to be proper Christians.

    So, a little over 76% but I wouldn't call that significant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    It comes out to about ~80% christian prison population. BTW I don't consider Jews, Mormons, or the like to be proper Christians.
    I agree with you regarding jewish people, however mormons are christians whether you like it or not

    Quote Originally Posted by brushman
    So, a little over 76% but I wouldn't call that significant.
    Let's go back to my earlier post and look at the argument again:

    If christianity puts you "on the right path" (to paraphrase your post), then should we expect to see christian under-represented in the prison population, proportionally represented in the prison population, or over-represented in the prison population?

    If christians are more moral than non-christians, then I don't see how you can possibly argue that christians would be anything other than under-represented in the prison population. But what do we see?

    Parity.

    And if atheists are more immoral that christians, what would we expect to see? We would expect to see them over-represented (to hear the Rapture Right talk about it, we should expect to see the prisons teeming with godless atheist criminals). But what do we actually see?

    Atheist in the U.S.: ~16%
    Atheist in prison: ~0.21%

    I'm sorry, brushman. Your arguement fails.

    If this is your mechanism for determining who is on the right path and who is not (which I don't recommend at all), then this tells you that it's the atheists who are on the right path.
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    two words - good behavior
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