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Thread: Religion (A Scientific Study of)

  1. #1 Religion (A Scientific Study of) 
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Just a suggestion that the religion section be renamed to Religion (with a parenthesis if necessary). I don't see why it needs to be emphasized as a scientific study, when it's on the science forum. Sort of redundant. It would make the section easier to spot, and less cluttered looking. I doubt the name of the section has a whole lot of influence on the kind of posts there anyways.


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  3. #2  
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    Honestly there's a thousand other places where people can discuss religion. That's not the intent here. IMO, we've probably not been hard enough in sorting through and disposing of the non-scientific garbage in that section.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Honestly there's a thousand other places where people can discuss religion. That's not the intent here. IMO, we've probably not been hard enough in sorting through and disposing of the non-scientific garbage in that section.
    Lynx_ Fox, get a perspective. Religion is a part of most posters here, and I respect the religious opinion
    of the poster. But on the other hand, feel free to question it within the confine of scientific debate.
    Something I feel you are trying to express. But to denigrate as garbage, a belief system that many
    hold, I feel is not in the best interest of understanding science, and exploring its potential, nor furthering
    it.
    nokton.
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    Noted. Probably used the wrong word and didn't mean offense. What I wished to convey is non-scientific stuff in a science forum = garbage. Generally people can be as religious as they want but should understand the distinction between scientific discussions about religion, and broader religious discussions. To illustrate, there's lots of potential science to discuss ABOUT religion--such as: How many are religious? Why are most humans tend to be religious? What the demographics associated with the religious? What are the common characteristics and differences between religions and their broader set of mythologies? How does religion effect the cultures, economies, moral codes, rise and fall of religious? What do we know about religion from anthropology and archeology? How do the memes associated with religion change in relationship with their cultural environments? Note, non of these have to do with discussions about angel-pin-dancing or any assumption that supernatural exist.

    A useful litmus test might be: If there's the implied assumption that the supernatural exist in the post or in the topic of the thread than it shouldn't be part of the "science of religion" sub forum. If folks are interested in discussing those supernatural elements there's a thousand other places to do so. The other mods might have a different opinions. Most of us expressed our opinions in another very similar thread recently (might merge them).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Noted. Probably used the wrong word and didn't mean offense. What I wished to convey is non-scientific stuff in a science forum = garbage. Generally people can be as religious as they want but should understand the distinction between scientific discussions about religion, and broader religious discussions. To illustrate, there's lots of potential science to discuss ABOUT religion--such as: How many are religious? Why are most humans tend to be religious? What the demographics associated with the religious? What are the common characteristics and differences between religions and their broader set of mythologies? How does religion effect the cultures, economies, moral codes, rise and fall of religious? What do we know about religion from anthropology and archeology? How do the memes associated with religion change in relationship with their cultural environments? Note, non of these have to do with discussions about angel-pin-dancing or any assumption that supernatural exist.

    A useful litmus test might be: If there's the implied assumption that the supernatural exist in the post or in the topic of the thread than it shouldn't be part of the "science of religion" sub forum. If folks are interested in discussing those supernatural elements there's a thousand other places to do so. The other mods might have a different opinions. Most of us expressed our opinions in another very similar thread recently (might merge them).
    Take your point Lynx, and well made.
    Agree that non-scientific stuff is garbage on a science forum, and I will contest that any day.
    But opinions driven by a faith have to be allowed for in the wider context of the forum.
    An individuals way of thinking may be motivated by irrational belief, but isn't it up to
    those on this forum who believe in reason and facts, to educate and inform? I believe so.
    And I believe the new administrator would share my view.
    You pose many questions on religion Lynx in your response to my post.
    Do as I did, throw them in the trash bin and lets get on with science.
    nokton.
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    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Well, I was mostly interested in just changing the title. I found myself trying to find the religion section for five minutes because I kept skipping over the word "Scientific." I just think the title is redundant and if we want to emphasize that this is a science forum we can put that in parenthesis or in the section's description.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB View Post
    Well, I was mostly interested in just changing the title. I found myself trying to find the religion section for five minutes because I kept skipping over the word "Scientific." I just think the title is redundant and if we want to emphasize that this is a science forum we can put that in parenthesis or in the section's description.
    It isn't redundant because we have other non-science subforums, like politics, pseudoscience, and others. The name was changed when the previous forum owner decided to ban preaching.
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    The previous owner tried to ban preaching, but encouraged mocking and derision of the belief systems of others.

    Nevertheless, this has scientific value because it reveals that the the most likely explanation for atheism, is that there is a "perceptual difference" between believers and nonbelievers.

    The perceptual difference is explained by one word: "pride". Every example of atheist derision, mocking, etc. is evidence for the pride, that is the most likely explanation for the inability of nonbelievers to perceive God.

    To prove this, you might be able to design an experiment where atheist volunteers agree to seek God, without the pride.

    Then you could look for a "change in perception".
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  10. #9  
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Right.


    That's exactly what I was trying to get at.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    The previous owner tried to ban preaching
    We still do.

    --
    On a personal note, I can't think of anything more prideful than thinking that one of thousands of the gods man has worshiped through the eons of human history is real or the right one - particularly when there's no rational argument based on credible evidence for believing in any of them.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; November 23rd, 2011 at 04:53 PM.
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    Dedo: granted, the mocking is not the way to go and it is something I have been guilty of as well. But, personally speaking, your idea that pride is to blame is wrong in my opinion. As you know, I used to have god in my life, as have many other atheists and agnostics, but pride had little to do with why I gave that up. It was and still is about the pure and honest truth, something I believe and strive for strongly. It was me seeking truth that opened my eyes to the non-existence of a god. I know you believe strongly and might find it difficult to see my point of view, but that is the truth.

    The mocking I have done, of which I am not very proud, has been more for the lack of logical thinking and common ignorance I have seen among believers. This characterisation is something I have noticed as a very common trait and in itself is not simply meant as a jibe. Hopefully the atmosphere has been better around here than you have been used to in the past. I still value your input. Even though that is what I see, it still does not make it ok to pounce on every religious person I find. Everyone in my life is religious and I love and value my family and friends.

    I do see things from your perspective though. We love to try and figure out what makes people religious and talk about it as a fault, while you see our non-belief as something having gone wrong somewhere as well, while both of us feel we are correct in our beliefs or lack thereof. I have learned a lot on this forum and I now feel we can learn from each other when we have a need for honesty and truth going for us. Some people can't see this and it is too easy to fall into yet another swinging match, but I don't see you as someone like that, along with a few other believers that have been through here.
    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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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    The previous owner tried to ban preaching
    We still do.

    --
    On a personal note, I can't think of anything more prideful than thinking that one of thousands of the gods man has worshiped through the eons of human history is real or the right one - particularly when there's no rational argument based on credible evidence for believing in any of them.
    Lynx:

    If a person reads scripture that says that God loves you more than you can comprehend, and you believe what you read, that is not prideful. You are just believing what you read.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Dedo: granted, the mocking is not the way to go and it is something I have been guilty of as well. But, personally speaking, your idea that pride is to blame is wrong in my opinion. As you know, I used to have god in my life, as have many other atheists and agnostics, but pride had little to do with why I gave that up. It was and still is about the pure and honest truth, something I believe and strive for strongly. It was me seeking truth that opened my eyes to the non-existence of a god. I know you believe strongly and might find it difficult to see my point of view, but that is the truth.
    Kalster:

    Even though I responded to DaBob's thread in the Feedback section, my intent was not to relay negative feedback. The moderation here is very good.

    I was trying to propose a different way to look at the problem of belief vs. non-belief. It may be that the idea of looking for "credible evidence" is a mistake. God may have good reasons for not wanting to provide such "evidence" to people who reject His will.

    If we look at the issue from the standpoint of "perception", then I think you would agree that either non-believers cannot see something that is actually there, or believers are imagining something that is not there. Or all of the above could be true.

    There is a lot of theology in the Christian Bible that warns people about false perceptions of God. If you think just of terrorists that believe they are doing "God's will" when they murder someone, then it is obvious that mis-perception can be a problem. Also, some people have described and experienced a dramatic "change in perception".

    So I was thinking that there may be a few key aspects of theology that you need to comply with to "perceive God correctly". This would apply to believers and non-believers. One of those key things might be to let go of "pride". By pride, I was thinking more of "self- sufficiency". Sin Of Self-sufficiency
    For me, a change in perception occurred when I decided to seek God on God's terms as much as I could understand at the time. Prior to this, although I attended religious service I mostly wanted religion to meet my terms, not vice versa.

    So if it were possible to identify a relatively small number of theological principles that you must do to perceive God, that could be something that could be tested. It may be that non-believers were practicing religion like I was, but they were missing one of those "key principles".

    That is what I was thinking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Lynx:

    If a person reads scripture that says that God loves you more than you can comprehend, and you believe what you read, that is not prideful. You are just believing what you read.
    Your presumption that there is belief already bypasses the question. But the innocent way you put it might not be prideful...like when I was 5 and my mother used to read the bible every night before bed.

    The problem comes after the age of reason, when a person still believes that way even in the lack of any credible evidence or reason, even pridefully asserting that they can only believe through faith--and even pridefully think that faith is a valid excuse to tell people, including their children that they'll burn for eternity, live forever in heaven, can't love other consenting adults and other extrapolations from their fairy tails.

    Again on a personal note, I was once extremely prideful, believed my faith was the correct one and not needing anymore evidence than my emotional feelings that I had a relationship with god. What turned my away is really reading the bible, discovering the scientific method was overwhelmingly the best way to determine how the word actually works, and that most of the other things religion considered beyond scientific examination were make-believe (e.g., resurrections, souls, heaven, hell etc.)

    Religion is a fascinating subject for science, the psychology, the sociology, the effect on the cultures which practice it--and that was the intent of the current forum.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    You are just believing what you read.
    do you believe everything that you read ?
    or just the bits that you've chosen to believe ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Anthropology might be an interesting subject. However, most people seem to either be curious about another person's point of view, or they just want to argue their own belief system. It always comes back to what ever "presumption" you want to start with. If you want to start with the "presumption" that there is no God, and then allow a free for all of attacking belief systems, then you have the "Church of atheism". That is just another form of preaching. Fortunately, we seem to be moving beyond that. However, in general if someone attacks something, they are often telling you more about themselves, than what they are attacking. I remember one poster who would accuse people of "cowardice" because of a post. How can that ever apply to some electronic communication? That just made me wonder what he was afraid of. We are all afraid of something.

    Lynx: Are you saying that people who reject belief were exposed to believers who may have been "well intentioned", but were dogmatic to the point where religion was more a means to scare and control someone? Maybe that is why some people deride religion. They are really attacking a person who scared them when they were young. That might be different from "pride". Or it might explain why a person might not want to "come closer" to what they remember was a source of fear.

    The "perception" thinking was just another way to look at the issue. It was not intended to insult anyone. As I said, perception can be wrong, and even ministers warn of this. Also, "true perception" does not imply some sort of "merit". God can have many reasons for showing Himself. I thought "perception" would be something that could be examined, because it is known to change.

    Marnix: No one believes everything they read. If you are referring to the Bible, then there are parts that I do not understand, for sure. I believe the Bible.
    Last edited by dedo; November 24th, 2011 at 03:56 AM.
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    However, most people seem to either be curious about another person's point of view, or they just want to argue their own belief system. It always comes back to what ever "presumption" you want to start with. If you want to start with the "presumption" that there is no God, and then allow a free for all of attacking belief systems, then you have the "Church of atheism".
    Science isn't really a "belief system," and certainly not a church in any sense. It's a rather simple idea that evaluates observations, draws possible explanations based on their credibility, validity and reliability and forms hypothesis followed by more observations, confirmation, rejection, or modification. And this is where many religious folks go wrong, assuming it is pride or something else they gets them largely ignored. To cut to the chase, for example, I don't reject Jesus as the son of God out of spite, pride or some mean streak against Christians (I've spent my life protecting their right to believe as such--even as as I think them superstitious and potentially dangerous to our future)--I reject Jesus because the evidence is extremely poor and falls FAR short and way out of proportion of validating the extraordinary claims--it's entirely a position of reason and nothing else. Most scientist reject conventional religion for similar reasons. So where does it leave the science of religion thread--in simple terms it doesn't mean folks can't discuss "factoids" from the bible--not at all. But when they do so they should fully expect it to come under the same scrutiny as all other scientific observation. Those that haven't been through the veritable meat grinder of peer review might not understand--but that to is something worthy to be learned in a science forum.
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    You reject Jesus because you have not seen enough evidence. Well maybe some people have seen enough evidence. Science not some some grandiose, hard to understand, elite mystery. It is just a set of rules for examining evidence that is based on reproducibility. If a person violates those rules, then they are not practicing science. Also, the claim of "science" is used to further a host of personal and political agendas.

    Your saying that people are "superstitious" or "dangerous" implies fear. I can say the same about atheists.

    If you are not interested in examining the perception issue, that is fine. It is just another way of looking at belief vs. non-belief.
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