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Thread: The End Of Faith

  1. #1 The End Of Faith 
    Forum Freshman Pongo's Avatar
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    In his book ‘The End of Faith’ by Sam Harris which I am reading at the moment the author puts forward a theoretical situation where the whole population of the world (all 6 billion plus of us) wake up one morning and have global amnesia and we have to start learning all the knowledge we have at present all over again.


    He suggests some priorities that we would need to learn all over again by reading books and using computers in our public/private libraries would be how to grow crops and build shelter. Some sources and books would obviously be very important - say farming and house building whereas other books and sources would be put on the back burner or in the mythology shelf of our library for humanity.


    Now he comes to the important bit of this theoretical situation would all the religious books be put on this Mythology book shelf along with ‘The Egyptian Book of the Dead’ or my own suggestion the ‘Bardo Thodol’ as relics from the past like child labor, human sacrifice and taboos against contraception.



    I think he is making a good point do we really need religion?

    Are we to modern to accept an all seeing, all knowing invisible God who has lived for eternity what do you think?


    The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.
    Martin Heidegger

    Read more:http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/au...#ixzz1ngEaN5Rg



    Last edited by Pongo; February 28th, 2012 at 07:53 AM. Reason: incorrect quote
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    This seems like a silly proposition, on the order of "what would have happened if the Confederates had AK-47s." I actually read that book.

    When you ditch the religous books, are you also ditching the moral traditions which the books have recorded, or do you think the moral traditions are independent of the religions? Do you only ditch the religious traditions you don't like, such as human sacrifice and taboos, or do you ditch them all, like prohibitions against theft and murder? How do you know which ones to ditch?

    Are all taboos bad? What about the incest taboo?


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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    I'm sure many people would read the religious books and find them appealing. In fact, for some people, this would take priority over the more practical stuff.

    And that is fine because, as my favourite lesson in parallel programming puts it, if one man can dig a hole 1 metre x 1 metre x 1 metre in an hour, can 60 men dig the same hole in 1 minute?
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    sorry the mention of taboo's was a mis-quote by me of what the author actually wrote sorry.
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    I think the dramatic experience of waking up to find global amnesia would enhance rather than reduce the attraction of relgious texts and explanations. "Wow!" ppeople would say, "We must have really pissed the big fellow off this time."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I'm sure many people would read the religious books and find them appealing. In fact, for some people, this would take priority over the more practical stuff.

    And that is fine because, as my favourite lesson in parallel programming puts it, if one man can dig a hole 1 metre x 1 metre x 1 metre in an hour, can 60 men dig the same hole in 1 minute?
    The religious books (or some equivalent) may be the most practical of them all, because man is a social animal and needs to cooperate in order to survive. This assumes that when everybody had instant amnesia, they also forgot all rules of social interaction.
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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Do you only ditch the religious traditions you don't like, such as human sacrifice and taboos, or do you ditch them all, like prohibitions against theft and murder?
    Do you suggest we would be incapable of coming up with reasonable guidelines that would benefit the largest number of people? Do you suggest that the religious guidelines themselves have not come from our own minds?

    I suggest that we could come up with a set of guidelines that would be unparalleled in our history for its regard for human dignity and equality if we were freed from our prejudices. That is the secular humanist approach.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    such as human sacrifice and taboos, or do you ditch them all, like prohibitions against theft and murder?
    Religion does not own IP on cultural morality. Why would the loss of religion presume the resurgence of the unrestrained eating of babies?

    Property, it's cultural import and protections, has very little to do with magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    What about the incest taboo?
    The Christian bible tends to be a little hypocritical around the incest issue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    such as human sacrifice and taboos, or do you ditch them all, like prohibitions against theft and murder?
    Religion does not own IP on cultural morality. Why would the loss of religion presume the resurgence of the unrestrained eating of babies?
    The premise is that everybody has forgotten everything. This means they don't automatically know there is anything wrong with eating babies. How do you think they would know this? I am not saying you need religion, specifically.
    Property, it's cultural import and protections, has very little to do with magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    What about the incest taboo?
    The Christian bible tends to be a little hypocritical around the incest issue.
    Yeah. So? The question remains, if mankind has forgotten everything, how do you know which taboos to retain?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I am not saying you need religion, specifically.
    The implication was certainly there :/...

    The concept of property is universal and underpins the majority of what we consider to be cultural morality. I fail to see why our hitting the reset button would significantly alter this particular behaviour.

    I realise it wouldn't be long before hawkish opportunists started pushing their luck but this, too, is already an embedded part of our culture so it's not as if there's any change on that front.

    Unless the reset has us undergo some core physiological change our drives and imperatives remain unaltered. Jockeying for sexual favours and cultural standing will soon see us revert to type.

    I would imagine there would be a short period where those in possession of knowledge would leverage it for preferential treatment...
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    I am not saying you need religion, specifically.
    The implication was certainly there :/...
    You are welcome to read in whatever you want.
    The concept of property is universal and underpins the majority of what we consider to be cultural morality. I fail to see why our hitting the reset button would significantly alter this particular behaviour.
    So, do you think it is instinctive? Or exactly by what process would the behavior come about?
    I realise it wouldn't be long before hawkish opportunists started pushing their luck but this, too, is already an embedded part of our culture so it's not as if there's any change on that front.
    It's an embedded part of our culture, like the technology everybody has forgotten in the hypothetical situation. However, the premise is that we have forgotten all of our culture. At least, that's what I presumed.
    Unless the reset has us undergo some core physiological change our drives and imperatives remain unaltered. Jockeying for sexual favours and cultural standing will soon see us revert to type.
    I think the author of the book assumes there will be some differences. Otherwise, why even speculate about it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Do you only ditch the religious traditions you don't like, such as human sacrifice and taboos, or do you ditch them all, like prohibitions against theft and murder?
    Do you suggest we would be incapable of coming up with reasonable guidelines that would benefit the largest number of people? Do you suggest that the religious guidelines themselves have not come from our own minds?

    I suggest that we could come up with a set of guidelines that would be unparalleled in our history for its regard for human dignity and equality if we were freed from our prejudices. That is the secular humanist approach.
    You are exhibiting a prejudice in favor of human dignity and equality. Do you think these values would arise spontaneously?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    So, do you think it is instinctive?
    "This is me. That is you. This is mine. That is yours. You harm mine, you get yours. How about we agree on some middle ground that frees up some time for me to go do something else - like copulate."

    Not instinctive, no. Bog standard selfishness. Altruism is a fable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    However, the premise is that we have forgotten all of our culture.
    You imagine that criminal/anti-social behaviour won't reappear? You imagine that family members won't understand that cooperation has benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    why even speculate about it?
    Given that I've just tagged it to my reading list I have no idea. I do know it sounds suspiciously like the ideas explored in Lord of the Flies...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Do you only ditch the religious traditions you don't like, such as human sacrifice and taboos, or do you ditch them all, like prohibitions against theft and murder?
    Do you suggest we would be incapable of coming up with reasonable guidelines that would benefit the largest number of people? Do you suggest that the religious guidelines themselves have not come from our own minds?

    I suggest that we could come up with a set of guidelines that would be unparalleled in our history for its regard for human dignity and equality if we were freed from our prejudices. That is the secular humanist approach.
    You are exhibiting a prejudice in favor of human dignity and equality. Do you think these values would arise spontaneously?
    I think you are moving out of the bounds of the thought experiment. I haven't read the book, but in a book titled ‘The End of Faith’, it seems to me that the primary purpose of the question is if we would consign the stories in the books of the major religions to the same shelf as stories about Zeus and works like 'The Iliad' if we were free from the cultural conditioning we have experienced since birth; about whether religion can be the sole purveyor of morality and ethics. If such a thing really happened, I suspect the world would be cast into chaos, but like I said, I think that ignores the bounds and context of the thought experiment.

    From that starting point, I suggested religion is indeed not the sole purveyor of morals and ethics and we indeed can come up with better standards of egalitarianism, moral codes, etc. from a secular humanist approach. I think in fact religion muddles the pursuit of some kind of objective morality that encompasses the whole of humanity.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    From that starting point, I suggested religion is indeed not the sole purveyor of morals and ethics and we indeed can come up with better standards of egalitarianism, moral codes, etc. from a secular humanist approach. I think in fact religion muddles the pursuit of some kind of objective morality that encompasses the whole of humanity.
    You are using words like "better" and "egalitarianism" as though there were some objective criteria by which egalitarianism is better. I don't think there are any such criteria. Those just happen to be some things that many people in western society might agree with at this point in time.

    Your concern for "the whole of humanity" is I think a fairly recent development viewed in a historical perspective.
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    Harold14370


    This seems like a silly proposition……
    Really after 41 minutes of my posting something on this forum you accuse the author I mention of producing something ‘silly’ – what about just disagreeing with him and saying so instead, without all the charged language. They used to think it silly to suggest going to the Moon 100 years ago –yes?


    ‘Confederates had AK-47s.’
    Do you really consider the comparison of potentially removing a world- wide system of religions of which you may believe or disbelieve as you like, is in some way similar to the American Civil War -- really?


    If we are going to re-adopt religion where do we start what about the practice of Haruspex and the inspecting of sheep’s entrails as a starting point. My point is, are we so incapable and incompetent of creating a society without religion which also has order in it whatever that may entail. Are there any contemporary societies which have order and (need) no religion to work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    Harold14370


    This seems like a silly proposition……
    Really after 41 minutes of my posting something on this forum you accuse the author I mention of producing something ‘silly’ – what about just disagreeing with him and saying so instead, without all the charged language. They used to think it silly to suggest going to the Moon 100 years ago –yes?


    ‘Confederates had AK-47s.’
    Do you really consider the comparison of potentially removing a world- wide system of religions of which you may believe or disbelieve as you like, is in some way similar to the American Civil War -- really?
    No, I am saying that it is equally pointless, since the Confederates did not have AK-47s, and we do not have a world blissfully free of religions.

    If we are going to re-adopt religion where do we start what about the practice of Haruspex and the inspecting of sheep’s entrails as a starting point. My point is, are we so incapable and incompetent of creating a society without religion which also has order in it whatever that may entail. Are there any contemporary societies which have order and (need) no religion to work.
    There are contemporary societies which do not need religion to work, at least in the short term. The long term outlook is hard to predict. You seem to think it would be highly desirable to have such a society. What I think is that Sam Harris has written a book intended to promote his moral view of the world, while attempting to put some kind of scientific spin on it.
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    Harold14370

    'No, I am saying that it is equally pointless, since the Confederates did not have AK-47s, and we do not have a world blissfully free of religions.'

    So should we suspend all potentially free thought and conjecture because you think it is silly/pointless --- really, should we all have your viewpoint we would never discuss anything?

    'You seem to think it would be highly desirable to have such a society.'
    Do you read minds as well as having a closed mind yourself?

    Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.”
    Oscar Wilde
    Last edited by Pongo; February 29th, 2012 at 03:22 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    Harold14370

    'No, I am saying that it is equally pointless, since the Confederates did not have AK-47s, and we do not have a world blissfully free of religions.'

    So should we suspend all potentially free thought and conjecture because you think it is silly/pointless --- really, should we all have your veiwpoint we would never discuss anything?
    We're discussing, aren't we?

    'You seem to think it would be highly desirable to have such a society.'
    Do you read minds as well as having a closed mind yourself?
    No. I read the words you typed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    I suggest that we could come up with a set of guidelines that would be unparalleled in our history for its regard for human dignity and equality if we were freed from our prejudices.
    See a parallel in Constitutions - modern vs. antiquated i.e South Africa's vs. America's. In this forum the US Constitution garners the same crusading reinterpretation as an ancient religious text.


    Sam Harris is an anti-theist catering to the American anti-theist market. I do respect that he sees humans freely do as a group what is unconscionable to individuals, but while he judges this a moral flaw I judge it a dangerous power. Harris holds the normal American value of individuals first before society or species.
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    'Sam Harris is an anti-theis......'

    This is not relevant to my original question if you read it -- thanks. My question was related to his idea rather than ascribing a label.

    'See a parallel in Constitutions - modern vs. antiquated i.e South Africa's vs. America's.'

    So you agree it is possible --- yes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    So you agree it is possible --- yes?
    That all religious works be shelved as mythology?

    I think that in our hubris we'd leave Santa in the dust to boot. I think that only what may be articulated and rationalized, and technically correct, is winning lately. I'm sorry there's a bit of well poisoning in my saying so.

    Maybe in the future we'll understand and accept why and how we humans needn't conform to inhuman ideals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    'Sam Harris is an anti-theis......'

    This is not relevant to my original question if you read it -- thanks. My question was related to his idea rather than ascribing a label.
    I think the anti-theism is very relevant to the original question. It is Sam Harris's whole purpose in writing the book. Why would you be concerned about some quaint stories of mythology, unless you think they are promulgating some harmful beliefs and behaviors?

    Harris imagines that there can be a science of morality, replacing the old, myth-based morality. He thinks there are some core beliefs held by all reasonable people, like promoting the well-being of all conscious creatures. Morality is supposed to be derived from these like all of mathematics is derived from some small set of axioms that all reasonable people can agree to. This is pseudoscience.

    In Harris's hypothetical scenario, after the global amnesia event, everybody is going to get together and work toward some ideal moral system. Naturally that would include working toward world peace, equality of man, an end to racism, etc. All those secular humanist ideas that Sam Harris believes in, and thinks everybody else does too, if only they would come to their senses and discard their religions.

    I call BS. That's not what would happen at all. The first thing people would have to figure out after the amnesia event, is why they shouldn't get together with their pals and kill the neighbors and rape all their womenfolk.
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    'The first thing people would have to figure out after the amnesia event, is why they shouldn't get together with their pals and kill the neighbors and rape all their womenfolk.'

    Is this what happens in a localised disaster like a tornado or tsunami where all the normal rules of society,rules of government/law or decency are suspended or do we find somehow a sense of still keeping such civilisation as we have intact?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    'The first thing people would have to figure out after the amnesia event, is why they shouldn't get together with their pals and kill the neighbors and rape all their womenfolk.'

    Is this what happens in a localised disaster like a tornado or tsunami where all the normal rules of society,rules of government/law or decency are suspended or do we find somehow a sense of still keeping such civilisation as we have intact?
    In that case we haven't had a global amnesia event where we have forgotten all of our moral systems and beliefs that we have learned all our lives. However, I think it is closer to the history of human society, than some happy scene where everybody is sitting around holding hands singing "we are the world".
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    Actually in those cases we burn more incense, erect more crosses, and speak of divine intervention with renewed vigor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post

    Harris imagines that there can be a science of morality, replacing the old, myth-based morality. He thinks there are some core beliefs held by all reasonable people, like promoting the well-being of all conscious creatures. Morality is supposed to be derived from these like all of mathematics is derived from some small set of axioms that all reasonable people can agree to. This is pseudoscience
    I agree that the rational people of today are not the same as those of yesteryear. Secular humanism has not existed for the 200 000 years of our existence. That does not matter though. What is true, is that we have the capacity for it. There are physical evolutionary drivers that can support such a goal. We do have an unparalleled ability to empathise with each other, among others, that have benefited the survival of our tribes through our history by promoting a sense of community etc. We seem to be able to hold different sets of ethics/morals for those close to us than for those that are outside our close families.

    Now more than ever though, we are in a position where in our minds we can view all of humanity as part of our family. The world gets smaller every year. What I gather from Sam Harris' writings is that he more or less agrees with this, not that there is such a thing as an objective morality. That is the stuff of religion and fables.

    In Harris's hypothetical scenario, after the global amnesia event, everybody is going to get together and work toward some ideal moral system. Naturally that would include working toward world peace, equality of man, an end to racism, etc. All those secular humanist ideas that Sam Harris believes in, and thinks everybody else does too, if only they would come to their senses and discard their religions.
    Like I said in my previous post, you are working outside of the context of his thought experiment. It is only meant to make us think about what we would do with the religious texts of modern major religions if we were free from the conditioning and indoctrination we are subjected to.

    You are, perhaps unintentionally, attacking a strawman.
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    'You are, perhaps unintentionally, attacking a strawman. '

    Well said Kalster.


    I wish now I had never mentioned Sam Harris or his book as the source for this question and kept it as simple as what books would we read first as a matter of urgency or necessity and what books we could now re-write or write our own future and history placing things into perspective.

    I am aware that at one time it was the norm to drill holes in peoples heads to release the demons so we might pass on that as a source of medical advice for instance and equally the thoughts of Zeus may not be appropriate to our situation since we can still access later texts giving information that the Zeus adherents did not know about.

    Harold 14370

    You appear to have missed the point of my question entirely we haven't lost our computers or history records or books or our ability to learn and read again.

    What I am saying is we do not need to learn all of it from scratch as we already have the information saved to access again.
    A case of Oh, look they once did it this way but found out another/correct way to do it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    'The first thing people would have to figure out after the amnesia event, is why they shouldn't get together with their pals and kill the neighbors and rape all their womenfolk.'

    Is this what happens in a localised disaster like a tornado or tsunami where all the normal rules of society,rules of government/law or decency are suspended or do we find somehow a sense of still keeping such civilisation as we have intact?
    I think that's much more how the media chooses to depict things rather than how things really are--for example per capita crime during Katrina actually dropped based on the people who were trapped--but with hundreds of media crews saturating the area there was more $ and senstionism to cover the bad rather than the thousands reaching out to their brothers to save them.

    --
    As for Harris, it is wrong about the amnesia event for sure, but in a stable environment I think he's absolutely correct. In large part his ideas are happening in the secular nations of Europe and more secular parts of America..where violence for example are at historically unprecedented low levels compared to any other time or place of human experiences.
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    [QUOTE=KALSTER;311201]
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post

    That does not matter though. What is true, is that we have the capacity for it.
    Yes, but you are assuming that is the kind of world everyone will want. In other words, you (and Harris) want the religious and their vision of the world to vanish while you recreate the world in your own vision, which has somehow mysteriously survived the global amnesia. You're not playing fair.
    There are physical evolutionary drivers that can support such a goal.
    Prove it.
    We do have an unparalleled ability to empathise with each other, among others, that have benefited the survival of our tribes through our history by promoting a sense of community etc. We seem to be able to hold different sets of ethics/morals for those close to us than for those that are outside our close families.

    Now more than ever though, we are in a position where in our minds we can view all of humanity as part of our family.
    And you think everybody does or should support that. I know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    another/correct way to do it
    So there is a right way and a wrong way, and you know the right way. Then you think there is such a thing as objective moral truth?
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    As I read through this thread, I could not help but see "Lord of the Flies." I wonder if Sam read the book or saw the movie before coming up with his orginal idea of starting over. Hmm, isn't that what Noah's Ark was all about, too. Such a novel idea by good old Sam.
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    'I could not help but see "Lord of the Flies.'

    I agree up to a point with your comparison although if I remember in the William Goldings story correctly were all the characters not children and also without books and computers available to discover any useable rules?
    This world wide amnesia scenario described by Harris takes up only 1-2 pages of the whole book by the way but is still interesting to discuss I think.

    Harold14370

    'a thing as objective moral truth?'

    I think as a species we may have amnesia about a lot of things but I think protecting our young and vulnerable would be instinctive much as it was before we had books or computers and lived in caves and this in-built moral code I believe would eventually prevail as we realised it was for the common good don't you think?
    I don't think we need a book or public service announcement from our respective governments to tell us how at least superficially to behave in a somewhat civilised manner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    daytonturner
    'I could not help but see "Lord of the Flies.'

    I agree up to a point with your comparison although if I remember in the William Goldings story correctly were all the characters not children and also without books and computers available to discover any useable rules?
    They were children, but the adults of the story were in a war, also.
    This world wide amnesia scenario described by Harris takes up only 1-2 pages of the whole book by the way but is still interesting to discuss I think.
    It's interesting because it shows how Harris and other secular humanists think and believe.

    Harold14370

    'a thing as objective moral truth?'

    I think as a species we may have amnesia about a lot of things but I think protecting our young and vulnerable would be instinctive much as it was before we had books or computers and lived in caves and this in-built moral code I believe would eventually prevail as we realised it was for the common good don't you think?
    What's "the common good"?
    I don't think we need a book or public service announcement from our respective governments to tell us how at least superficially to behave in a somewhat civilised manner.
    No, not the government. Governments are more a reflection of the culture than anything else. We do need to learn how to behave, though. I don't think very much of human behavior is instinctive. There are just a few basic drives, which may be expressed in many, many different ways.

    The problem you are having is that you are like everybody else and think your beliefs are special. Religious people think their beliefs come from God. You think yours are just natural common sense logic. They're not.
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    Harold14370

    They were children, but the adults of the story were in a war, also.


    Your point would be....?

    What's "the common good"?

    Whatever we think it will be just like we have done in the past rightly or wrongly.

    'I don't think very much of human behavior is instinctive' and 'a few basic drives'

    Really, I think you need to read some introductions to basic psychology about human nature/desires/motovation and what really does drive us to do things .. this sort of information has been around for a long time and is well documented by brains far cleverer than mine.
    It's pretty universal if it's not, how did we get to todays point in time without totally wiping each other out in that case especially when some societies have no religion to speak of?

    Finally, good to see that the church or a church now accepts that the Earth goes around the Sun and not the other way round -----eventually. See below for an example of how quickly this church became enlightened after the 17th century

    On 31 October 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    Harold14370

    They were children, but the adults of the story were in a war, also.


    Your point would be....?
    That the fact they were children was not the reason they had gotten into a war amongst themselves.
    What's "the common good"?

    Whatever we think it will be just like we have done in the past rightly or wrongly.
    How does this support your idea that human society could be improved after a global amnesia?
    'I don't think very much of human behavior is instinctive' and 'a few basic drives'

    Really, I think you need to read some introductions to basic psychology about human nature/desires/motovation and what really does drive us to do things .. this sort of information has been around for a long time and is well documented by brains far cleverer than mine.
    It's pretty universal if it's not, how did we get to todays point in time without totally wiping each other out in that case especially when some societies have no religion to speak of?
    What do you think is instinctive? Is war instinctive? Is religion instinctive? How does instinct account for differences between cultures?

    We got to today's point in time by a process of cultural evolution and learning. Cultures do change, in the same ways that technology changes. People learn from their parents and others around them. Cultural adaptations which help people to survive and pass on their genes would probably be retained more than others, and this may be a reason why different cultures have some features in common.
    Finally, good to see that the church or a church now accepts that the Earth goes around the Sun and not the other way round -----eventually. See below for an example of how quickly this church became enlightened after the 17th century

    On 31 October 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair
    It seems you are just indulging in some anti-theism.
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    Confession: I have not read the Sam Harris work and it's not likely that I shall.

    However, based on the glimpse given us of the overall novel, it would seem that Harris has created his own world and caused it to develop in accordance to his own purposes. I cannot determine if that is anti-religious or Mormon thinking. But, really, is it any different than what we of faith say God did? He created a world which is unfolding according to His purposes. It would seem that we, as humans, have shown ourselves to be inadequate to the task of managing it on our own.

    Harris joins a long line of philosphic writers, headed by Karl Marx, who think they have determined a new path to a utopian world which would, in this instance, be better than the one we have if only humanity could avoid religion.

    It appears that he allows his amnesiacs to retain their ability to read and then to have access to the compilation of literature that is currently available and thinks they would automatically reject religion. It sounds to me as though this is a skit plot for Saturday Night Live. And the anti-religious give credence to this kind of stuff over the Bible?

    This seems to be a common concept among the anti-religious -- that they can envision a world better than the one we have if only we could eliminate God. Personally, I think what we would see after Harris' amnesia incident is humanity run amock and reverting to uncivilized tribalism. And their golden rule prime directive would be, "Kill the Other Tribe before They Kill Us." The world would continue to be divided into the same two groups we have today -- them an us.
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    Harold14370

    'anti-theism
    '

    I saw you labelling me with this earlier and I probably have and can guess what you mean by it but is it in fact a word as I cannot find it in any of the authoritive dictionaries online that I use or in Microsoft Word as a matter of fact?

    Sticks and stones ........by the way

    I will discuss your other points after some critical thinking time of lets say more than 38 minutes anyway.
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    Harris joins a long line of philosphic writers, headed by Karl Marx, who think they have determined a new path to a utopian world which would, in this instance, be better than the one we have if only humanity could avoid religion.
    Actually Sam Harris would be very much against establishing a "Utopia" as such and probably argue thats there are many possible societies where we could apply reason and science to a wide range of moral systems to minimize suffering. I think he's right, and recent history of secularism in Europe applied to criminology and laws for example have dramatically improved society by most measures. It's certainly not difficult to find the opposite end of the spectrum where resistant to reducing suffering are largely because of religious-based dogmatic views about sex, roles of women, punishment, education and many others. The US is halfway between the two extremes--as splendidly being shown in this year's presidential campaign.
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    Lynx_Fox said:

    . . .[R]ecent history of secularism in Europe applied to criminology and laws for example have dramatically improved society by most measures.
    This may well represent accurate current statistics, but I fear what will happen when the money finally runs out to pay for their huge social programs as the rest of Europe joins Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy in the throes of bankrupt government. Greeks, especially, have not responded well to being cut off from the golden goose of government handouts. I am wondering what will drive Europe into poverty first -- their own overspending on social programs or the rapidly expanding influence of Islam.

    With all due respect, history of Europe is not complete and the current socialistic approach has not run it full course as it has in Russia and China. My feeling is that it is not a question of when their social experiment fails, but when. I keep wondering why people who think Europe is the epitome of social success are not flocking to get there there. The only people who are trying to immigrate to Europe are people who are living in poverty stricken or politically repressive countries. And they end up in Europe mostly because it is much more difficult to emmigrate to the U.S. I don't see Americans or Canadian rushing to go to live in Europe.

    It just seems to me that if Europe is such a great place, everybody would be wanting to live there.
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    It just seems to me that if Europe is such a great place, everybody would be wanting to live there.
    There is huge immigration to Europe now.
    As for why Americans don't go there, because in most places there's still enough difference between the States to move to one that suits your political/social views (one of the reasons I don't like politics trends to federalize everything). For example, I lived in Boulder CO for three years and found it full of people from the bible belt who left in disgust for its politics and culture. San Francisco, Eugene Oregon and many other cities are full of people like this. The other thing of course is most Americans are tremendously ignorant about the rest of the world and presume, as a matter of almost jingoistic pride, that everything America does is inherently the best and correct way of doing it. As an American who lived in Europe that sort of parochial view of the world turns my stomach--they simply do some things far better than we do and we should look at them as a model for those things, much as we used to look at our own states as crucibles for better ways of doing things.
    Pongo likes this.
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    There are very few differences between the way Europeans and Americans have their taxes spent by government. America is almost as socialist as Europe is. Those old labels don't have much use imho.
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    Zwirco said:
    There are very few differences between the way Europeans and Americans have their taxes spent by government. America is almost as socialist as Europe is. Those old labels don't have much use imho.
    Sadly, this is pretty much an accurate statement and the more liberals we elect to office, the more closely America will resemble Europe. I stick with my earlier thought: If someone likes the European way so much, they should move to Europe rather than try to turn America into Europe. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have a bunch of people coming up here from California because they don't like California and the first thing they do is try to turn us into California. Go figure.

    I have no idea what this has to do with the OP unless we consider that it is result of the OP provoking thought on the entire socio-relgio-economic picture of the world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    There are very few differences between the way Europeans and Americans have their taxes spent by government. America is almost as socialist as Europe is. Those old labels don't have much use imho.
    Actually there are...Europe on average spends almost 50% more on social programs.
    Social Welfare in Europe and North America - Atlantic Review - Analysis of Transatlantic Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy

    Ya, I'm having tying that back to the rest of the tread as well.... :-)
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    If we had global amnesia, social order would likely deteriorate and have to be rebuilt.

    Special expertise that large populations need for food, clean water, medical care, etc. would be lost until we relearned how to do these things.

    In the mean time, there would be major upheaval.

    From the point of view of a believer, we still would have the guidance of our conscience, which can be interpreted as the influence of God, whether a person is a believer or not.

    Thus, we would likely be guided back to religious books and practice.
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    Lynx:

    Well, it is an interesting twist of this thread and, I think, an important topic to be discussed somewhere. Because I was concerned as to what the "50 percent more" actually stood for -- actual dollars, percent of GNP or as a percentage of taxes so devoted, I actually went to the provided link.

    I found that it is as a percentage of GNP dated in 2003, almost 10 years ago. I would suspect the numbers and the gap have changed somewhat in the interim years, especially in the U.S. under the Obama adminstration. What I found interesting what that figures from Greece were not included. Those numbers might have gone a long way to resolving the blogger's question of what percentage of GNP can be spent on social welfare programs before it becomes too much of a burden?

    What I also found interesting in the chart was that the countries (besides Greece) which have had the most trouble -- Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland -- were generally lower on the percent of GNP than France, Germany and most of the Scandinavian countries.

    This suggests to me that there may be factors other than a pure percentage of GNP. For example, a huge economy such as that of Germany may be better able to support its 29.5 percent of GNP toward social welfare than could the small economy of Ireland afford its paltry 15.6 percent of GNP. I can think of some other factors that could be involved but that is probably for another discussion.

    Anyway, thanks for letting us take this little detour.
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    Lynx,

    Comparing those numbers you can see that the differences are often not that great; in some cases the USA actually spends more. 50% can obviously be the difference between 1% and 1.5% (basically the same) in other words. Anyway, the point I was making is that it irks me when I hear Americans describe Europe as some kind of socialist paradise. It isn't. The differences are nowhere near as great as people like to imagine.
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    dedo
    Thus, we would likely be guided back to religious books and practice.


    First of all thanks for staying on the subject I was beginning to think I had 'fallen down a rabbit hole' ( an expression or euphuism for a portal to bizzarre world/significantly strange happenings/extremely surreal situations,) with some of the deviations off-topic here.

    Your comment above while sweet is impractical due to enormous choice (a) Which religious books -what about the Egyptian Book of the Dead as a starting point for instance?
    Or
    Click on any area you're interested in:where to start?


    there would be major upheaval.

    really - we as a thinking species seem to pull through and cope with major disasters quite well -I think it's one of our greatest gifts - we come together - history proves it we are built this way co-operate around the campfire without needing any supreme being to inspire us.



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    Last edited by Pongo; March 6th, 2012 at 02:14 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    dedo
    Thus, we would likely be guided back to religious books and practice.


    First of all thanks for staying on the subject I was beginning to think I had 'fallen down a rabbit hole' ( an expression or euphuism for a portal to bizzarre world/significantly strange happenings/extremely surreal situations,) with some of the deviations off-topic here.

    Your comment above while sweet is impractical due to enormous choice (a) Which religious books -what about the Egyptian Book of the Dead as a starting point for instance?
    Or
    Click on any area you're interested in:where to start?
    You are welcome.

    If God exists, then He would guide us toward the religion that He believes we need the most for our development.

    For example, although I am Catholic, I don't think Catholics know everything and some aspects of wisdom are more eloquently explained by other disciplines.

    If God were to give all the answers to one religion, then those people might very well become arrogant. And we know that pride is one of the "deadly sins" that is the opposite of what God wants us to be. If you have ever run into the "condemning religious type", then that is what I think is the result of religion that becomes mixed with pride.

    How God guides us, I don't know. I just know He does. Once I had this real problem with one aspect of theology. At that time, I was browsing in a religious fiction section and I picked up a book that "coincidentally" explained the exact problem that I was concerned about.

    Not long ago, I family member recommended some books on Musashi. I read one of them and I felt that I learned some important things from
    oriental philosophy.

    So for me, the best way to grow is to be anchored in one religion, that for me is Catholicism, but to be willing to listen to other points of view as long as they don't violate the core beliefs of the religion I practice.

    I think the upheaval would come from shortages in essential services including food and water when expertise is lost. An example might be hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

    Personally, I think it would be prudent for society to develop incentives for more local self sufficiency including developing home gardens or even home generation of electricity to make society less tightly coupled, and more resilient to perturbations in the environment.

    If everyone was generating electricity at home to charge their cars, and give excess power back to the grid, our energy consumption and vulnerability to Middle Eastern fanatics would be much less.

    The only people who would lose out in that scenario would be oil and utility companies.
    Last edited by dedo; March 6th, 2012 at 02:05 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    If God exists, then He would guide us toward the religion that He believes we need the most for our development.
    This is demonstrably false, since it excludes the possibility of hostile gods, or disinterested gods and demands the existence of a benevolent and engaged God.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    If God exists, then He would guide us toward the religion that He believes we need the most for our development.
    This is demonstrably false, since it excludes the possibility of hostile gods, or disinterested gods and demands the existence of a benevolent and engaged God.
    John, I don't see your point. The argument was a hypothetical based on the assumption of one benevolent God.

    Thus, the conclusion based on the assumption is reasonable.

    My opinion is that God does exist, is benevolent, and does guide us.

    So for me, it is a reasonable assumption.
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    My apologies. I was responding to your specific post and had not read the the full thread, so I missed the point where you stipulated the ground conditions. Under those conditions your conclusions seem reasonable, although I can imagine conditions that allow benevolence, yet support the confusion and ambiguity we witness.
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    I keep wondering where non-believers are coming up with this concept that the God Yahweh is suppose to be a benevolent god and in what way they think His benevolence should be manifested.

    What is benevolence as it might be attributed to a diety?

    The Bible says God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Why would those who are not diligently seeking Him expect Him to extend benevolence to them?
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    No problem. I do the same thing as it is hard to read a long thread. For a thread that started with a highly implausible situation, some interesting directions have occurred.

    Re: Why should God bless people who don't seek Him? I think the relevant passage is Matthew 5:45. Jesus notes that God send's sun and rain on righteous and unrighteous.
    Thus, His followers are exhorted to love their enemies.
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    My original question on the book ‘The End of Faith’ by Sam Harris was about religion in general and did not mention any specific one but I do get the impression that most of the comments made here are referring to Christianity in particular.
    Harris, in his book talks about various religions and the implications of whether or not we re-instate them or not.
    For instance do we need a ‘god edict’ from one particular religion who has so much time on his hands that he is concerned about the length of females hemline and whether they need to cover their face or not.
    What about the justification or not of the use of suicide to kill one’s enemies – would this really be necessary to our growth and continued survival.
    Do we need to believe or have need of a ‘virgin birth’ – this is well known in a number of religions and myths pre-dating the birth of Jesus not just a Christian/Islamic one.
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    The points you raise seem to be mainly tactical in nature and ignore the strategic values of religion as basis of community cohesion, a resource for spiritual equilibrium and guide to overarching ethics. For these strategic reasons I would see justification in retaining elements of religion. (And of course on the tactical front hemlines should be as high as possible.)
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    John Galt

    'tactical in nature
    '

    Yes I agree tactical would seem to be a priority when it comes down to feeding ourselves - we better learn quick or go the way of extinction.
    We are thankfully thinking creatures maybe even much more sophisticated compared to 2-3 thousand years ago - so may not have to go through the whole 'dark cloud in the sky shows us God is angry with us bit.

    I believe we could surely develop a pattern of behaviour and moral thinking which benifits all without resorting to ancient books to re-learn it.

    Your comment about hemline length would be surely one of the first commandments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    I believe we could surely develop a pattern of behaviour and moral thinking which benifits all without resorting to ancient books to re-learn it.
    There you go again with your "benefits all" idea. You have not yet given a scientfic reason why everybody should want to "benefit all." I maintain that you are simply promoting a point of view, and not participating in a scientific dialog.
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    It seems to me this question was long ago answered by Voltaire when he said:

    "If God did not exist, we would have to invent him."
    There are some slight variations in some versions of the quote. But if you accept Voltaire's thought, you could suggest that even if no religious books remained after the amnesia holocaust, some form of religion would develop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    It seems to me this question was long ago answered by Voltaire when he said:

    "If God did not exist, we would have to invent him."
    There are some slight variations in some versions of the quote. But if you accept Voltaire's thought, you could suggest that even if no religious books remained after the amnesia holocaust, some form of religion would develop.
    Are you counting secular humanism as a religion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    I believe we could surely develop a pattern of behaviour and moral thinking which benifits all without resorting to ancient books to re-learn it.
    And we could doubtless develop efficient metods of smelting steel, but it might make sense to consult materials science textbooks and foundry manuals.
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    Harold14370
    'There you go again with your'


    Yes here I go again, childcare, looking after the elderly or infirm does not seem me to be needing written in a book to be re-learned - we appear to have it built into us probably due to our culture of socialising with one another.

    "benefits all"
    This seems to fly in the face of 'free will' where everybody it seems is out to murder,steal,rape or live apart that I have noticed in the last few thousand years or so. We got on together before religion as part of the 'common good' and is demonstrated regularly by the finds in early settlements. I don't think we can avoid our deepest motovations although sometimes we manage to plumb the depths a bit according to certain people in history.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    Harold14370
    'There you go again with your'


    Yes here I go again, childcare, looking after the elderly or infirm does not seem me to be needing written in a book to be re-learned - we appear to have it built into us probably due to our culture of socialising with one another.
    If by childcare you mean parents taking care of their children I'd probably agree that's a feature of all human societies. I'm not sure how far I'd go beyond that. The concept of caring for strangers' children who are not closely related? I think that idea is probably a fairly recent development. We do know that contemporary hunting-gathering societies are often rather warlike, and there were a lot of wars documented in ancient civilizations. That would seem to be the norm for human society, rather than an instinctive urge to benefit all of mankind alike.
    "benefits all"
    This seems to fly in the face of 'free will' where everybody it seems is out to murder,steal,rape or live apart that I have noticed in the last few thousand years or so. We got on together before religion as part of the 'common good' and is demonstrated regularly by the finds in early settlements. I don't think we can avoid our deepest motovations although sometimes we manage to plumb the depths a bit according to certain people in history.
    Have any early settlements been found that predate religion? I am not aware of such finds. As far as I know, religion is or could be as old as humanity.
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    Harold asked (with tongue in cheek):

    Are you counting secular humanism as a religion?
    Haha. Are you bating me, dude? Of course, secular humanism is a religion recognized by everyone except secular humanists. It is a religion of individuals who share a similar world view which they deny is similar, claiming instead to be unique like everyone else. Its basic tenets are relativism, post-modernism, anti religion, and scientism. It is a good thing they refuse to officially organize and put forth a united effort. They would probably be far more effective than they are. But then they would be exactly what they are trying to defeat.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Of course, secular humanism is a religion <...> Its basic tenets are relativism, post-modernism, anti religion, and scientism.
    I'm not entirely clear that such a pair of statements are compatible.
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    A religion guided by no book, no churches or meeting places, no ceremonies, no standard religious days, nor pilgrimages, no trails or celebrations marking key age transitions, no spirits or deity, no heaven or afterlife, nor fixed community gatherings is about as much a religion as a bottle recycling campaign. Cub scouting has more credentials as a religion (and I've been a leader).
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    A book is not a necessity for religion, as there were oral traditions as well. And of course, secular humanists are good at getting their beliefs encoded in laws, where they are binding on everyone. Perhaps the lack of an atheist bible accounts for the sales of Sam Harris's books.

    Churches or meeting places? Right here on the Scientific Study of Religion forum. Just start a thread like: Is religion the root of all evil.
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    John Galt said:

    I'm not entirely clear that such a pair of statements are compatible.
    Do you not understand the concept of an oxymoron? Surely, you did not take me seriously. Cut off their oxy(gen) and what are you left with???
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    John Galt said:

    I'm not entirely clear that such a pair of statements are compatible.
    Do you not understand the concept of an oxymoron? Surely, you did not take me seriously. Cut off their oxy(gen) and what are you left with???
    Dayton, given the large doses of illogic that inhabit many of your posts I have never known how to take you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Harold asked (with tongue in cheek):

    Are you counting secular humanism as a religion?
    Haha. Are you bating me, dude? Of course, secular humanism is a religion recognized by everyone except secular humanists. It is a religion of individuals who share a similar world view which they deny is similar, claiming instead to be unique like everyone else. Its basic tenets are relativism, post-modernism, anti religion, and scientism. It is a good thing they refuse to officially organize and put forth a united effort. They would probably be far more effective than they are. But then they would be exactly what they are trying to defeat.
    Maybe some ironic truth in that, for the Abrahamic religion began with the uniquely unassailable position that their god (the Hebrew god) had no spoken or written name, no appearance, no icon; it wasn't like the other gods at all. It would be hard to criticize a religion that so deludes the grasp of pantheists. May be that's not the last belief system to hide in plain sight.
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    Harold14370
    'caring for strangers' children who are not closely related?'

    This is generally assumed by people and well known in fact to be the reason for our 'success' as humans the fact that babies are totally self centered and will smile at anyone who takes care of them. Try that with any other species and you will end up being served as lunch by the parents. This is so well known and I must say I'm surprised you did not know this.

    'settlements been found that predate religion'

    Are you suggesting we used to hunt our prey with an English accent and could have instantly acquired language skills to discuss religion as soon as we became anything like modern man? I think co-operation to find food and shelter came first and language skills later on and then the development of oral traditions and religion later on after that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    Harold14370
    'caring for strangers' children who are not closely related?'

    This is generally assumed by people and well known in fact to be the reason for our 'success' as humans the fact that babies are totally self centered and will smile at anyone who takes care of them. Try that with any other species and you will end up being served as lunch by the parents. This is so well known and I must say I'm surprised you did not know this.
    What did I not know? A gosling will become imprinted on a boot and follow it around wherever it goes, as Konrad Lorenz proved. Does this mean that geese have some special affinity for boots?
    'settlements been found that predate religion'

    Are you suggesting we used to hunt our prey with an English accent and could have instantly acquired language skills to discuss religion as soon as we became anything like modern man? I think co-operation to find food and shelter came first and language skills later on and then the development of oral traditions and religion later on after that.
    I guess it all depends on how you define "human." I think there is some evidence that Neanderthals buried their dead in some sort of ritualistic fashion. But yes, there was and is cooperative behavior in animals. This does not mean they had a moral system resembling yours. Lions hunt cooperatively. The male lion who takes over a pride will also kill the cubs sired by his predecessor. This is not exactly working for the good of all lionkind.
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    'What did I not know?'
    'that idea is probably a fairly recent development'
    No I do not think so most animals will defend their young from even members of the same group or family and not allow adults anywhere near the offspring unlike us humans.

    'Lions hunt cooperatively.'
    I don't think the lion family analogy works and is a bit of a red herring and as for lions and genes this is more to do with biology and passing on of the best genes by nature 'red in tooth and claw.' Therfore nothing to do with religion or a moral code at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    Harold14370
    'What did I not know?'
    'that idea is probably a fairly recent development'
    No I do not think so most animals will defend their young from even members of the same group or family and not allow adults anywhere near the offspring unlike us humans.
    Quite the opposite with hive species. We are a hive species.

    Our care for others is at odds with another innate behavour: war. Considering that chimpanzees strive for cultural segregation, which can only end with hostile populations speciating, I wonder if this accelerated our/their evolution. It is easy (though a bit shameful) to imagine the initial divergence between our species quickened by warfare. Then the ethical question is: who drove who out, of where?

    I think Harold's right that caring for strangers' children is a recent development, but I add that our inclination to war is inversely connected to this. These are old, opposing traits, and it's obvious which is winning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    No I do not think so most animals will defend their young from even members of the same group or family and not allow adults anywhere near the offspring unlike us humans.
    Most animals are not social animals. The ones that are, like wolves for example, have the whole pack participate in the rearing of young. This would only apply within the pack, though. Wolves are territorial, and would attack another wolf that invades their territory. Also, remember when comparing human and animal behavior, that the human behavior is not instictive. It's learned. You have a ways to go if you wish to show that a particular human behavior is innate.
    'Lions hunt cooperatively.'
    I don't think the lion family analogy works and is a bit of a red herring and as for lions and genes this is more to do with biology and passing on of the best genes by nature 'red in tooth and claw.' Therfore nothing to do with religion or a moral code at all.
    I thought you were trying to show that human behavior is based on biology and evolution. If not, then where do you think it comes from? Why should humans be exempt from the "tooth and claw" rules of nature? Don't they need to pass on the best genes, just like lions do?
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    John Galt said:
    Dayton, given the large doses of illogic that inhabit many of your posts I have never known how to take you.
    I reserve the right to be as illogical as the posts to which I am responding. I do, however, welcome it when someone can actually show the illogic of such a post. Usually, when someone says something someone else has said is illogical, all they are really saying is that they disagree. Logic does not require that two people agree on a particular issue since logical formulas, depending on the given information, can often justify and point to more than one conclusion.

    Sometimes, I also think the people here take themselves far to seriously, as though we are actually going to resolve anything in the discussions which take place here. Do not always take me seriously. I can be as silly as the relativistic, post-moderns who post here. Sometimes the only way to combat silliness is with sillyness. Success here, to me, is provoking thought, not in changing minds which some people seem to think is possible among highly opinionated, highly convicted commentators.

    I do cordially invite you to go back through my posts and point out what you think I have posted that has been (unintentionally) illogial and why you think it is illogical. And then, how the post to which I was responding was logical.
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    Dayton, rather than revisiting old posts, I shall undertake to 'pounce upon' any future examples which I think I have seen. I hope you will also accept that in my curt post I was using illogical in a broad sense to include such things as 'poorly structured', 'without evidential basis', 'ambiguous' and the like.
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    Hmm, well, John, when we can feel free to write 30-page essays on these posts, then perhaps we can present our concepts with greater depth and development and include extensive bibliographies of our sources. My experience in several years here is that oftentimes people demand evidence or further explanation merely as a diversionary tactic in an attempt to blunt the argument rather than address it. Unless I find something aggregiously out of whack, I do not usually demand evidence or further development.

    I also usually try to wade through poorly structured statements to find what is actually intended and comment on that rather than nit-picking what has been said without commenting on the substance of the statement. When someone says, "I read somewhere. . .," there are times when it might be reasonable to ask where while other times it is not really necessary.

    I think we all have a tendency to call upon what we think is common knowledge without explanation. If I say an orange is a citrus fruit, I don't feel it necessary to go though botanical toxology to prove it. But sometimes, what is common knowledge within one group may not be so common knowledge among those outside the group. In that case we should be willing to explain without becoming offended. But I also think we are justified in being dismayed by the lack of basic knowledge some people display in their comments on a topic and then their subsequent refusal to attempt to become more grounded in the subject.
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    Common knowledge doesn't necessarily mean that it is true or fact. Asking for proof isn't blunting an argument or diversionary it is because proof is being asked for. And on a Scientific forum that only seems natural. People lie especially when arguing, and something people think is fact or common knowledge, may in fact turn out to be completely wrong. Never trust in someones words without knowing them to be truthful and knowledgeable of the subject, and even then question them.
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