This is topic General thread drift SHOWDOOOWN June 1st 2:09 MST in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.


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Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
TUESDAY TUESDAY TUESDAY get your tickets now

My guesses:

It will be something of a surprise if prop 8 gets overturned! It hinges on the SSM advocates pressing some VERY compelling legal reasons, which may exist given the junkiness of California's very silly state constitution.

The previous marriages stand almost no chance of being revoked.

If the law actually gets overturned, it will probably be backed by the basis that the proposition can be ruled invalid because it constitutes a revision of — rather than an amendment to — the state constitution, OR that it violates the separation of powers doctrine. Possibly both.

If the law does not get overturned, then that sets the effective date for popular overturn of the gay marriage ban to about 2012.

[ June 01, 2009, 03:23 AM: Message edited by: Samprimary ]
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Now I'm going to be on pins and needles through my long weekend... I almost wish I hadn't seen this.
 
Posted by Achilles (Member # 7741) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
...the junkiness of California's very silly state constitution.

You got that!

I still think that any change in the state's constitution should be a 2/3 majority, not a simple one.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
Conservatives like to whine about "activist judges" all the time, and usually there's not much substance to those complaints. But in this case, with the notion that the court might overturn an amendment the Constitution agreed upon by the voters in a seemingly normal process that both sides of the issue took part in last year, they'd really really have to stretch to come up with some kind of justification to overturn that.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Not really, Tres, they've done it before when other minorities were singled out by constitutional process.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Conservatives like to whine about "activist judges" all the time, and usually there's not much substance to those complaints. But in this case, with the notion that the court might overturn an amendment the Constitution agreed upon by the voters in a seemingly normal process that both sides of the issue took part in last year, they'd really really have to stretch to come up with some kind of justification to overturn that.

Well, they may very well have a legitimate complaint! You're taking away something which got defined in a prior ruling as an 'inalienable right' and they might not have either been able to do that with a majority vote instead of a three-quarters vote or a two-thirds vote or maybe they weren't able to do it at all but it's so out-and-out hard to figure out because California's state constitution is a broken pile of poo.
 
Posted by Lalo (Member # 3772) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Not really, Tres, they've done it before when other minorities were singled out by constitutional process.

I'm not sure about state courts, but on the federal level, only race qualifies as a suspect class. Gender and sexuality don't yet qualify for protection, despite having the exact same characteristics of race when it comes to deserving protection.

That said, state laws have previously been permitted to be more liberal than federal law -- California has significantly better free speech protections than the federal courts provide for, for example -- so it's totally possible there are California-specific protections for homosexuals. I doubt it, though.

Honestly, the easiest tack for them to take is equal protection jurisprudence, without trying for suspect-class craziness and the baggage that comes with it. The Iowa decision should be a guide for all other states developing responses to gay marriage.
 
Posted by Lalo (Member # 3772) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Conservatives like to whine about "activist judges" all the time, and usually there's not much substance to those complaints. But in this case, with the notion that the court might overturn an amendment the Constitution agreed upon by the voters in a seemingly normal process that both sides of the issue took part in last year, they'd really really have to stretch to come up with some kind of justification to overturn that.

Ha. Part of judicial review is settling conflicts between constitutional law. As much as Republicans may hate gays, legislating against them is in direct conflict with the spirit and letter of virtually every other American principle guaranteeing liberty and equality.

I would love to see a law passed banning marriage between Republicans, just for ironic effect. Scumbags.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
I would love to see a law passed banning marriage between Republicans, just for ironic effect. Scumbags.
um
 
Posted by Anthonie (Member # 884) on :
 
I agree, Lalo, the Iowa ruling is elegant, simple, beautiful.

Too bad that all of the New England SSM developments had not been in place before the CA supreme court hearing about Prop 8! Perhaps the involvement of other states' legislatures and governors to legalize SSM through regular legislative procedures would have weighed-in on the CA justices consideration of what rights are not to be removed by a simple majority.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Well, they may very well have a legitimate complaint! You're taking away something which got defined in a prior ruling as an 'inalienable right' and they might not have either been able to do that with a majority vote instead of a three-quarters vote or a two-thirds vote or maybe they weren't able to do it at all but it's so out-and-out hard to figure out because California's state constitution is a broken pile of poo.
That doesn't sound like a legitimate complaint. That sounds more like "we don't agree with what the people voted, so we'll take advantage of California's bizarre constitution to fudge it so we get our way instead of the will of the people." I'll reserve final judgement until the court actually rules, but if it rejects the amendment, I have a hard time imagining what logic they could use that wouldn't sound like that.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
The entire point of a set of rules for changing things is because the raw will of the people is not the way the legal system is organized. Appealing to the will of the people as trumping the legal process reflects a divergence from the principles of our system of government.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
The entire point of a set of rules for changing things is because the raw will of the people is not the way the legal system is organized. Appealing to the will of the people as trumping the legal process reflects a divergence from the principles of our system of government.

Not exactly, in fact if the will of the people is so united and the judiciary stands in the way, the mechanism is in place for judges to be impeached by those representing the people. Fortunately it can only be done in circumstances of such overwhelming difference between people and judges that I can't recall it ever happening at the supreme court level.

I think it's unlikely that if the SCoC overturns proposition 8 that the judges would even be officially censured. I don't see anything unamerican about the issue going either way.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
That doesn't sound like a legitimate complaint. That sounds more like "we don't agree with what the people voted, so we'll take advantage of California's bizarre constitution to fudge it so we get our way instead of the will of the people."

Let's say the justices take a look at this amendment, analyze it within the framework of the California Lolstitution, and decide "Guys, based on our laws, the only constitutionally allowable way to pass a law that takes away the rights that prop 8 took away is to pass it as a revision. It's invalid as an amendment." this would be a valid complaint.

If this happened and their interpretation turned out to be valid (it may very well be), I would be amazed that this was even allowed to happen in the first place. And it would (shock of shocks) inspire sympathy for me from the prop 8 crowd, who put a lot of time and money and religious chanting sessions and fasting into the passage of proposition 8, only to have it overturned because "ur doin it rong."

Honestly how were they supposed to know! The people drafting it up most likely didn't know either, maybe had to guess. With the state constitution, they prolly couldn't really be sure.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Samp: California propositions are know for having problems in how they are put together. There have been numerous court cases where propositions were thrown out. The courts generally take the stance that they aren't going to bother dealing with them unless the question matters -- they don't get a hearing until they pass.

BlackBlade: of course, as I think you note, the will of the people was not so united. The measure passed with a fairly narrow majority in a state with a large and diverse population that has a legal framework in place partially intended to protect the parts of that population not in the majority. There would be outcry if Prop 8 was struck down, but there wouldn't by anywhere near the outcry necessary to oust the judges.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
the tactical debriefing on the passage of proposition 8 showed (even if this sounds cynical) that the passage of proposition 8 had more to do with the incompetence of the anti-prop 8 campaign than anything else.

The proposition is already on tenuous popular ground, and judicial review isn't about the popularity of laws anyway. They're there to prevent the tyranny of the majority style abuses of direct democracies within the framework of our Republic. Something I am not willing to part with. If a law violates the rules that dictate what is allowed to become law, it is not a law, even if over 50% of the population says it is.

Any judge who is basing his or her rulings on whether or not the ruling will be popular enough to suit their own political aspirations is not being a good judge.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Let's say the justices take a look at this amendment, analyze it within the framework of the California Lolstitution, and decide "Guys, based on our laws, the only constitutionally allowable way to pass a law that takes away the rights that prop 8 took away is to pass it as a revision. It's invalid as an amendment." this would be a valid complaint.
Only if they actually have a good reason based on that constitution. For instance, the argument that this is a "revision" rather than an "amendment" seems like a pretty poor reason, given that a gay marriage amendment does not come close to altering a large part of the Constitution as a whole.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Revision and amendment have technical legal meanings in re the California Constitution, and they are separated into the two categories in part for the express purpose of preventing a mere majority from enforcing major changes in the rule of law. No doubt the court will apply the technical meanings of the terms instead of the ones that seem a certain way to you.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
I was under the impression that the court there had never before established technical criteria for distinguishing those two terms.

In any event, defining marriage is far from being a major change in the rule of law - it approaches the opposite extreme.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
quote:
In any event, defining marriage is far from being a major change in the rule of law - it approaches the opposite extreme.
I don't think that "major change in the rule of law" is actually a standard that we need to measure against in this case. Actually I think that was a rather casual phrasing on fugu13's part.

The difference between a revision and an amendment is not sufficiently clear to obviate the relevance of judicial opinion in this case. Marriage is a fundamental right, as ruled in Loving v. Virginia. That wasn't explicit in the U.S. constitution. You can't easily point to a discrete part of the constitution that is substantially related to this right. Thus the effect of changes to the constitution on this right is not a matter of explicit language that is modified, removed, or added to the text.

The court previously ruled that SSM was a right protected by the Cal. constitution, despite that right not being explicitly enumerated in the text. Thus the court has some leeway to decide to what degree the prop 8 amendment actually alters the document that they previously ruled protected SSM. That little of the constitution is directly related to marriage is true, but it's not those specific bits that the court previously found relevant, AFAICT, so whether a sufficient bulk of the document's denotation and interpretation is altered by prop 8 to constitute a revision is, in fact, a matter of opinion.

I predict the court will rule 'not', but it's not ridiculous to think they will rule 'way.'
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Gender and sexuality don't yet qualify for protection, despite having the exact same characteristics of race when it comes to deserving protection.
It's not yet clear whether or not sexuality has the 'exact same characteristics' as race and gender when it comes to deserving protection.

After all, race and gender are involuntary, from-birth conditions. You can't say the same is proven of sexuality, though.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
I should clarify, I'm not proposing "Major change of the rule of law" as a standard, just noting that preventing such things is part of the reason for the distinction.

Additionally, this is a major change. They're taking something that has been ruled protected by the Constitution, and making it forbidden by the Constitution. That isn't an elaboration, addition, or tweak; that's a total reversal. Where do you get that the change is minor, Tres? Note that, for the purposes of considering if the change is legally large, you must accept as given the current legal interpretation of the Constitution in California.
 
Posted by Puppy (Member # 6721) on :
 
Hey — I'm really, really sorry to do this, because I know how annoying it is when other people do it [Smile] But I've been having a really weird, hard weekend, and a lot of what I've been doing in this thread is an obsessive reaction to other stresses in my life.

I started exploring some reactions I had to arguments made on the pro-gay-marriage side, but I don't like the way they came out, and now I find myself caught in a loop of endlessly explaining what I "really meant", and never being fully satisfied with the explanations.

So I'm deleting the posts. It isn't a good solution, but it's the one that doesn't leave me in an eternal mental feedback loop, worrying about them.

Sorry to those whose posts have lost their context (and extra sorry to me, now that my quotes have lost their context [Smile] ) ... if I could think of a better way to remain sane, I would do something else [Smile]

(To give this some background, my yearly review is on Tuesday, and my boss told me Friday that there's something bad we need to discuss, but he won't tell me what it is, and have a good weekend. So I'm a little stressed [Smile] )

[ May 24, 2009, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: Puppy ]
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
"The laws that affect homosexuals differently from heterosexuals don't say "If you're straight, you do this. If you're gay, you do this," the way that past discriminatory laws have separated men and women, or members of different races. Quite the opposite — the laws say, "EVERYBODY does this," without making a specific accounting for the fact that homosexuals want to do something else. "

You're wrong on this point, Puppy. In loving v virginia, the state of virginia made exactly this argument, stating that anti-miscegenation laws weren't discriminatory because the laws treated everyone the same regardless of race. The supreme court, in that decision, basically said "You're being ridiculous," to the state of virginia.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
You can also find a deconstruction of that argument in the recent Iowa Supreme Court decision. In particular, it might help you realize why

quote:
With orientation, the cry is closer to, "We want the law to STOP treating us like we're just like everyone else, and account for our behavioral differences."
is inaccurate and insulting.
 
Posted by Puppy (Member # 6721) on :
 
[deleted — sorry]

[ May 24, 2009, 07:49 PM: Message edited by: Puppy ]
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
I think you'd find black people (and white people, hopefully) would be insulted by defenders of laws that said "People are free to marry people of the same race". After all, if the laws are written like that, mixed race couples "want the law to STOP treating us like we're just like everyone else, and account for our behavioral differences."

Discriminatory laws can pretty much always be framed in a way where everyone is "included" if only they behaved differently. Saying that homosexuals don't really want to be treated just like everyone else, they want something different is very insulting, and an apologetic for discrimination. Do you think people didn't say the same thing in their arguments against miscegenation? I bet I can dig up some quotations of people saying mixed race couples didn't just want to be treated like everyone else, they wanted creation of special, new treatment.

Pay particular attention to the part of the Iowa Supreme Court decision that talks about being similarly situated. That is the standard they applied to determine that continuing discrimination was illegal asked if same sex couples were "similarly situated" to opposite sex couples. Being similarly situated for the purposes of a certain activity yet prevented from engaging in that activity due to a classification that prevents participation solely due to (similarly situated to those permitted) group membership by law necessarily implies, in the court's interpretation, that the law is discriminatory, and that those wishing to undertake the activity are not asking for extra treatment, but the same treatment as everyone else.

That people who argue same sex marriage recognition by the state is wrong feel they have reasonable arguments does not mean making those arguments is not morally suspect. You know I am not one to focus on that aspect to the exclusion of others, and focus mostly on undermining factual arguments, such as the ludicrous ones you mention in your more recent posts. (edit: meant to continue this thought: However, that does not mean there is not a moral component present, just as that many people were in favor of racial discrimination purely by upbringing and thought they had no particular ill will towards black people, but still bore moral responsibility for their views. Being understandable and honestly come by does not make a view moral.)

And yes, many of these laws are based on seeking people out and discriminating on them based on that quality. For instance, in Iowa until recently there was no particular requirement that people wishing to marry be of opposite sex. The legislature added that requirement in 1998. Are you going to argue this was not done to prevent same-sex couples from marrying? That same action has been taken in quite a few jurisdictions that had neglected to define same-sex couples out of marriage before. You could certainly argue there was a de facto restriction prior, but to argue that the laws people are seeking to overturn are founded "not on the idea of seeking people who are different and attempting to single them out for ill treatment" is either dishonest or uninformed. Have you looked at the rhetoric from those attempting to get more and more stringent laws passed against same sex marriage? Have you looked at the jurisdictions passing laws that prevent not just same-sex marriage, but the extension by parts of the government within the jurisdiction of even benefits similar to marriage benefits to the same-sex partners of gov't employees? This is not a question of an "innocent assumption".
 
Posted by Puppy (Member # 6721) on :
 
[deleted — sorry]

[ May 24, 2009, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: Puppy ]
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
renaming thread to "HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY PUPPY"
 
Posted by Puppy (Member # 6721) on :
 
[Smile] Thank you, Samp.

Look above to my first post for an explanation for the sudden change in thread length.

[ May 24, 2009, 07:51 PM: Message edited by: Puppy ]
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Court ruled that the amendment process is sufficient to remove equal rights from entire groups of people 6-1.

Couples who were married before hand are still married.

People will see this as a victory for the anti-gay majority, but it's really a loss for everyone. Eventually, (possibly as soon as next year) that amendment will be overturned through the same method as it was enacted, but this precedent will remain.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Court ruled that the amendment process is sufficient to remove equal rights from entire groups of people 6-1.

Couples who were married before hand are still married.

People will see this as a victory for the anti-gay majority, but it's really a loss for everyone. Eventually, (possibly as soon as next year) that amendment will be overturned through the same method as it was enacted, but this precedent will remain.

Do you have a link Pixiest? I can't find anything announcing the actual ruling yet.

edit: Found one quick blurb, but it's one sentence long and not from a reliable place.

double edit: Nevermind, I just turned on the TV.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
I would have posted a link but I didn't have one with an actual story. Just a headline. I posted as soon as I heard the news.

But now there are actual stories out...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GAY_MARRIAGE?SITE=ININS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
 
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Puppy:
(To give this some background, my yearly review is on Tuesday, and my boss told me Friday that there's something bad we need to discuss, but he won't tell me what it is, and have a good weekend. So I'm a little stressed [Smile] )

Ai. I've had managers do that with me before, and it's nerve-wracking. Hope that the "something bad" turned out not to be so horrible after all, Geoff.
 
Posted by Jhai (Member # 5633) on :
 
I've already received an email from the Courage Campaign on the ruling. [Frown]

Guess it'll be back to the phone banks in 2010, unless we move back to California, where I can volunteer in person.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
People will see this as a victory for the anti-gay majority, but it's really a loss for everyone. Eventually, (possibly as soon as next year) that amendment will be overturned through the same method as it was enacted, but this precedent will remain.
I'd argue this ruling was in a way a victory for everyone, because we all benefit from a court system that upholds the rule of law and refrains from using legal ambiguity to follow its own agenda, right or wrong. For the reasons mentioned earlier, had they overturned this then it would have seriously damaged the long-term standing of the court system in the eyes of the public, not just in California but across the country. Instead, the fact that the court ruled initially that the Constitution permits gay marriage and yet accepted that the now revised Constitution removes that right proves that the court is not following its own agenda but instead is attempting to follow the letter of the law. At least in California, conservatives can't complain about "judicial activism" as the culpret behind the gay marriage issue - and they can't blame it in the future if this decision is at some point reversed by the people.

There may have been a loss for everyone on this issue, but that loss did not occur today. It occurred last year on election day, when the people were offered a legal choice, and made their decision.

There also might have been another loss for everyone in California, even farther back - whenever they decided to make it so easy to amend the California Constitution.
 
Posted by Lalo (Member # 3772) on :
 
Tres, the court is obligated to guarantee equal protection. It failed.

There's really not much more to it. I'll want to take a look at their reasoning later, but I'm very tired of these Jim Crow laws.
 
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
 
quote:
In analyzing the constitutional challenges presently before us, we first explain that the provision added to the California Constitution by Proposition 8, when considered in light of the majority opinion in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th 757 (which preceded the adoption of Proposition 8 ), properly must be understood as having a considerably narrower scope and more limited effect than suggested by petitioners in the cases before us. Contrary to petitioners’ assertion, Proposition 8 does not entirely repeal or abrogate the aspect of a same-sex couple’s state constitutional right of privacy and due process that was analyzed in the majority opinion in the Marriage Cases — that is, the constitutional right of same-sex couples to “choose one’s life partner and enter with that person into a committed, officially recognized, and protected family relationship that enjoys all of the constitutionally based incidents of marriage” (Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th at p. 829). Nor does Proposition 8 fundamentally alter the meaning and substance of state constitutional equal protection principles as articulated in that opinion. Instead, the measure carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights, reserving the official designation of the term “marriage” for the union of opposite-sex couples as a matter of state constitutional law, but leaving undisturbed all of the other extremely significant substantive aspects of a same-sex couple’s state constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship and the guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

By clarifying this essential point, we by no means diminish or minimize the significance that the official designation of “marriage” holds for both the proponents and opponents of Proposition 8; indeed, the importance of the marriage designation was a vital factor in the majority opinion’s ultimate holding in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th 757, 845-846, 855. Nonetheless, it is crucial that we accurately identify the actual effect of Proposition 8 on same-sex couples’ state constitutional rights, as those rights existed prior to adoption of the proposition, in order to be able to assess properly the constitutional challenges to the proposition advanced in the present proceeding. We emphasize only that among the various constitutional protections recognized in the Marriage Cases asavailable to same-sex couples, it is only the designation of marriage — albeit significant — that has been removed by this initiative measure.

The reasoning Lalo wants to look at...later
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Scott: Well... according to that ruling we could get a ballot measure going to simply define away the marriage rights of just about anyone who isn't protected by federal law.

Or we could redefine "Housing" narrowly enough to nullify equal housing laws.

Or redefine *anything* to get around any equality law.

That just further emphasizes that it's a bad ruling.

Tres: Except that the California constitution already has two types of amendments. The regular amendment (easy) and the Revision (hard). What the court ruled was that Prop 8 was an amendment and thus done properly. It could have easily ruled that removing equal rights from a class of people was automatically a revision. This would have had the effect of *strengthening* the amendment process by making it *harder*. (And, as an aside, do something about the spaghetti mess that is the california constitution.)

NOW we have to spend another hundred million dollars amending it AGAIN to fix what the bigots have done. But that won't fix the problem the court created as illustrated in my reply to Scott. It'll still be too easy to take rights away from anyone.
 
Posted by Hobbes (Member # 433) on :
 
quote:
Geoff -
...my yearly review is on Tuesday, and my boss told me Friday that there's something bad we need to discuss, but he won't tell me what it is, and have a good weekend. So I'm a little stressed

One of your socks was brown and the other was argyle. Have you no taste good sir!?!

Hobbes [Smile]
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
It could have easily ruled that removing equal rights from a class of people was automatically a revision. This would have had the effect of *strengthening* the amendment process by making it *harder*. (And, as an aside, do something about the spaghetti mess that is the california constitution.)
This is what I meant by "using legal ambiguity to follow its own agenda". Unless the "revision" distinction truly was intended to apply to specific exceptions to the equal rights rule like this one, the court would be wrong to rule in such a way just because the court thinks equal rights is more important or should be strengthened. My impression is that "revision" is intended to apply to broad changes to the system of government, so that people can't easily just decide to do away with the executive branch or something like that.
 
Posted by Anthonie (Member # 884) on :
 
What a waste* of energy Prop 8 is. In the end it accomplishes NOTHING other than another "separate but not equal" mess.

If I read the court's decision reasonably accurately, the results are as follows:

marriage = simply a word denoting a one-man-one-woman couple's established and committed relationship to each other. (this was the first time I have ever seen a state Supreme Court decision used to do nothing more than say, "hey, the voters in our state have lawfully said the word marriage means.....")

civil union = a state-recognized committed relationship between a couple of any two consenting adults, fully equal in rights to "marriage"

I can't wait for the next lawsuit which begs the application of exactly equal rights in pursuance of family rights. For example, a gay couple goes into a religious adoption agency to adopt. The adoption agency director peers at them narrowly and says, "No, sorry. We only arrange adoptions for MARRIED people (and the CA definition of marriage means one-man-one-woman)."

"But wait wait wait!" says the couple. "We are NOT asking you to marry us. We want to adopt a child into our family. Under CA law we are EQUAL in SUBSTANTIVE rights to married couples. Pursuit of family is one of those rights. If you deny us this adoption, you are breaking CA law, and we will sue."


...and on a separate note,
"WHEW, I am sure glad that Prop 8 was upheld, because now I can sleep better knowing that my child will not be taught in school that boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls..."

Give me a break!! We all know that schools will teach the law of the land:
"Children, now listen to today's lesson," says random teacher. "Marriage is between only a man and a woman, but EQUAL and the THE SAME to marriage are civil unions. They are exactly like a marriage in every way except the name, but they can be between a boy and a boy or between a girl and a girl. For example, here is a book we are going to read called 'Jane and Jane'."

[*Post Edited: oops, fingers got too far behind head typing this one; replaced "mess" with "waste"]

[ May 26, 2009, 06:08 PM: Message edited by: Anthonie ]
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I'm glad they decided to let the marriages that already took place stand. That would have been crushing to those people to dissolve them.

I'm not sure how I feel about the decision. I've never done any reading on what happens when you enact a constitutional amendment that violates a previous section of the constitution, but I tend to think that anything legally put into the constitution is basically an exception to what was in there before. I'm inclined to think this decision was possibly fair, with my surface knowledge of it, but I don't like it on a moral level.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Proponents of same-sex marriage say they will challenge the California supreme court ruling on the basis that the amendment violates the principle of equal protection. This will require some creative rationalizing, however, because no man and no woman are being denied the right to marry each other; it is only the special category of men wanting to marry other men, and women wanting to marry other women, who are not allowed to call their union "marriage" as society prefers to define it.

My concern is not so much that homosexuality threatens marriage; adultery and divorce are far worse threats. My concern is that marriage is defined in the book of Genesis, which Christians and Jews regard as part of the authoritative Word of God, as a permanent union between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:24). Any attempt to redefine what constitutes marriage therefore is inherently an act of direct defiance of the authority of the Creator. While God can deal with us each on an individual basis where it comes to sin, God cannot ignore or fail to respond to an official act by government to defy His authority. When this issue is finally acted upon by the national government in a way that grants official recognition of same-sex marriage, that will have to bring an overt response from God, which would have to include withdrawal of a large measure of His protection and blessing from our entire nation. Disasters and tragedies we have seen on occasion, would be multiplied exponentially. This is a response that justice would require of God.

There is no necessity for same-sex couples to be awarded the official recognition of their union and commitment to each other as marriage in the Biblical sense. Any arguments that might be made about the need for insurance to apply to a same-sex partner, visitation rights in a hospital, etc., can be addressed by simple statute, stipulating these things. Those who are not satisfied with this, and demand that their unions be recognized as marriages the same as anyone else's, are demanding that everyone must approve of their lifestyle regardless of their religious views on the matter. Being tolerated is not enough for them.

How much of a difference in spirit is there really between the extremist gay rights activists, and the Muslim Jihadists, who similarly are not content with the mere toleration of others, but are so demanding that everyone submit to their religion and adopt their values, that they are willing to declare open war against all who refuse to accept the Muslim faith?
 
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
 
Huh?

It's not really actually the same. I haven't heard of gay activist blowing things up for example...
No, it's really folks on the right who are doing the same thing. This isn't a theocracy, and yet based on their religious point of view they want to keep gays from marrying legally or even calling their relationships a marriage, which doesn't make total sense.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Ron: did you even read that before you posted it?
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Synesthesia, yes they are the same thing. They are refusing the toleration which is all that anyone owes them, and demanding total acceptance. While the Muslim jihadists have deteriorated to the point where murderous violence is viewed as righteous behavior, the gay rights activists have not yet gone this far. They can see it is important to their hope of ultimately getting their way for them to appear to be civilized, seeking their "rights." But where they are frustrated, we have already seen mob scenes, threats and vandalism against churches and church property, and vociferous denunciations of Christians, as if they were the ones promoting something evil.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Pixiest, did you read what I wrote carefully and accurately, before posting your remark? You ought to know by now that I always mean what I say, and very carefully say exactly what I mean.

And just so there is no doubt. I am saying that there will be serious disasters that will certainly fall on America if the decision is made on the national level to allow unions between same-sex couples to be called marriage. I believe it is an absolute certainty. Therefore I have to give this warning. If large meteorites which usually are guided away from inhabited areas, or exploded harmlessly in the upper atmosphere, are allowed to strike inhabited regions, you will know that the angels of God have been ordered to "stand down."

[ May 26, 2009, 05:44 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]
 
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Synesthesia, yes they are the same thing. They are refusing the toleration which is all that anyone owes them, and demanding total acceptance. While the Muslim jihadists have deteriorated to the point where murderous violence is viewed as righteous behavior, the gay rights activists have not yet gone this far. They can see it is important to their hope of ultimately getting their way for them to appear to be civilized, seeking their "rights." But where they are frustrated, we have already seen mob scenes, threats and vandalism against churches and church property, and vociferous denunciations of Christians, as if they were the ones promoting something evil.

Dude... What in the love of milk are you talking about?
What's wrong with total acceptance for gay people? I don't see a thing wrong with it. Can you even see things from the perspective of people who are gay or even semi-gay?
To them the Christians trying to keep them from having equal rights are in the wrong. There's tons of them protesting against them, who seem to think it's OK to deny an entire group of people the slightest bit of the pie of life because of their religious point of view.
They are pushing their religious views on all of society! They have way more in common with Muslim jhihadists except for the whole stoning people for being gay thing. ><
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Synethesia, no one who believes the Bible is God's authoritative Word can ever regard homosexuality as not being sin, because the Bible does explicitly say it is. As for acceptance, it is the behavior that is unacceptable. You are manufacturing a straw man when you accuse me (by implication) of refusing to accept homosexuals as persons.

I think what I said is very clear and straightforward in its reasoning. Just because the reasoning may be new to you, does not mean it is not valid.

As I said before, no one is being denied their rights because same-sex unions are not called marraiges. All men and all women have the right to marry each other. That is what marriage is. Anything else, marriage of man with man, or woman with woman, is not a human right.

How do you define human rights? Human rights most properly are considered to be those things which human nature requires. There can be no human right for same-sex marriage, because that kind of union is contrary to human nature, and is not in the best interests of the human race.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
... Therefore I have to give this warning. If large meteorites which usually are guided away from inhabited areas, or exploded harmlessly in the upper atmosphere, are allowed to strike inhabited regions, you will know that the angels of God have been ordered to "stand down."

Nonsense. Bruce Willis never stands down.

...

Oh who am I kidding, this quote has to be self-satire, no?
 
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
 
It's not really new, it's just-

A. Not every Christian believes homosexuality is a sin.
B. The bible isn't the book of law for this country. By trying to push the point of view that homosexuality (which is a cumbersome word) is a sin and as a result gay marriage shouldn't be allowed and should be voted against, folks with that point of view are only a few steps away from being... well, like hard core Muslims.
They've got waaaaaaaay more in common with right wing Christians than liberal lefty gay activist, which they'd hate and fight with....

Not to totally diss Right Wing Christians, but... well... [Dont Know]
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
I thought angels were busy dancing in roadhouses and having fun with fornication.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Ron, I will repeat what I have said before. Your understanding of Christianity is about as far from mine as it is possible to get.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Regardless of how hateful and contemptuous any of you may be toward Christians who base their faith and belief system on the Bible, we do still exist, and are a large and legitimate social group in America. The founders of our country were almost all avowed Christians, and you only have to consult what they actually wrote to see how religious and serious about Christian values most of them were.

kmboots: So you are far from the Bible?
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Boots isn't hateful of anybody, near as I can tell.

I think you're projecting, Ron.
 
Posted by Occasional (Member # 5860) on :
 
kmbboots, what you said doesn't invalidate Ron's Christianity. It also doesn't invalidate that he shares that interpretation of Christianity with a huge portion of those who are active Christians. In fact, I would go one step farther and say that your version of Christianity (among those who are Sunday attending believers) is a minority.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Ron, from your understanding of the Bible.
 
Posted by Occasional (Member # 5860) on :
 
From A LOT of Christian's understanding of the Bible.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
As you are far from A LOT of Christians' understanding of the Bible.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
Ron, how do you manage such gravitas and authority? Never a "as far as I can tell", "in my opinion", "according to respected Bible scholars" - nary a qualification. Such certainty must come at a price.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
From A LOT of Christian's understanding of the Bible.

quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
As you are far from A LOT of Christians' understanding of the Bible.

Aside: this is giving me serious deja vu.
 
Posted by babager (Member # 6700) on :
 
While most of our founders may have been Christian, they still understood the wisdom and necessity of Separation of Church and State.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
And just so there is no doubt. I am saying that there will be serious disasters that will certainly fall on America if the decision is made on the national level to allow unions between same-sex couples to be called marriage. I believe it is an absolute certainty. Therefore I have to give this warning.

I need to get you a sign that you can carry around street corners. A big old sign.

You must get this message out, Ron! Make sure people know that legalizing gay marriage means that meteors will strike us. Pace up and down downtown streets to make sure people know.

You have a beard, right? If you don't, grow one quick. It will give you more gravitas.
 
Posted by MightyCow (Member # 9253) on :
 
I have a feeling that Ron already spends all his non-Hatrack time walking around streets with a big sign. He's on a mission from God.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
And just so there is no doubt. I am saying that there will be serious disasters that will certainly fall on America if the decision is made on the national level to allow unions between same-sex couples to be called marriage. I believe it is an absolute certainty. Therefore I have to give this warning. If large meteorites which usually are guided away from inhabited areas, or exploded harmlessly in the upper atmosphere, are allowed to strike inhabited regions, you will know that the angels of God have been ordered to "stand down."

For the sake of curiosity, as far as biblical crimes go, America, and the world in general for that matter, has done far worse things than allow gays to marry. It's not even one of the 10 commandments. Why would god stand idly by while rapes and murders go unhindered by divine interference, genocides are met with famines that only kill more of the innocent, and all the while we slowly destroy the natural world through apathy and ignorance...

But once we start to let the gays marry it'll start raining meteors?

It's a serious question. Forget for a moment the fact that I think the idea of divine punishment is ludicrous, and answer me from your own thoughts on why gay marriage is so incredibly heinous (also ignore that acts of homosexuality have also been ongoing for thousands of years) and against the will of God, that he'd ignore all these other atrocities and single us out for punishment because of it.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Such certainty must come at a price.
Indeed.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Regardless of how hateful and contemptuous any of you may be toward Christians who base their faith and belief system on the Bible, we do still exist, and are a large and legitimate social group in America. The founders of our country were almost all avowed Christians, and you only have to consult what they actually wrote to see how religious and serious about Christian values most of them were.
Ron, I don't see how you get off telling anyone else they're hateful.

Someone who proclaims that God will allow horrible natural disasters to strike Americans because of their stance on civil issues, and doesn't think that's a hideous thing for God to do...well, it's pretty difficult for me to separate 'hate' from that particular outlook.
 
Posted by Grinwell (Member # 12030) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:

How much of a difference in spirit is there really between the extremist gay rights activists, and the Muslim Jihadists, who similarly are not content with the mere toleration of others, but are so demanding that everyone submit to their religion and adopt their values, that they are willing to declare open war against all who refuse to accept the Muslim faith?

The group which infiltrated a church last year has recently been sued. They seem happy to adopt the garb, speech and tactics of jihadists. They have chapters across the U.S. and members who believe "that Queer people must work to end marriage rather than participate in the oppressive facade that is 'marriage equality.' In preserving our culture and uprooting patriarchy, it is important for us to critically examine marriage (gay, straight, or otherwise) and create a culture of disgust surrounding it."
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
Anarchy and gay rights are hardly incompatible. I don't see anything phenomenally interesting about the group. I'm certain there are Christian anarchists who believe the only valid form of government is God's government.
 
Posted by Armoth (Member # 4752) on :
 
I think homosexuality is a sin - but I'm also a big fan of the separation of church and state.

And, in general, I leave the punishment of sin to God. While it is alright to hold believing and practicing Christians to a certain standard - how can the fact that I believe something is a sin cause me to legislate against someone else?

I'm Jewish - isn't that a bigger sin than being gay? I'm really happy that we have the separation of church and state in a country that is largely christian.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:


How much of a difference in spirit is there really between the extremist gay rights activists, and the Muslim Jihadists, who similarly are not content with the mere toleration of others, but are so demanding that everyone submit to their religion and adopt their values, that they are willing to declare open war against all who refuse to accept the Muslim faith?

Ron, this is a profoundly deceptive and stupid question.

How many stories have you heard about extreme gay-rights activists strapping on explosive vests and mass-murdering their opponents in restaurants or churches or something?
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
... what you said doesn't invalidate Ron's Christianity. It also doesn't invalidate that he shares that interpretation of Christianity with a huge portion of those who are active Christians ...

Huh.

I guess you learn something new everyday. A huge portion of active Christians you say?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
From Armoth:
I'm Jewish - isn't that a bigger sin than being gay? I'm really happy that we have the separation of church and state in a country that is largely christian.

Traditionally, even people under the Christian umbrella aren't necessarily safe. I now direct you to the history of Catholicism in America. The separation of church and state was pretty weak at protecting Catholics for a couple centuries in this nation's history.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Lyrhawn, and others, just as a reminder, I did not say that meteorites would fall on our cities because of any sin. I said that when God's authority as Creator is directly defied by the highest government in the land, there must be consequences, including a major withdrawal of divine protection and blessing. Since we living in a shooting gallery in our solar system, this is a vital necessity, which we can scarcely afford to do without.

I did concede that there are worse sins than homosexual behavior. But the issue is one of divine authority, more than sin.

Marriage and the Sabbath are the two things that God instituted in Eden before the entrance of sin. Both exclusively depend upon the authority of God. It is interesting that many Christian churches take the lead in disregarding both of these Edenic institutions. Many will even say the Ten Commandments do not apply to all humanity, just so they can get around the Sabbath Commandment. And many feel their duty is to be so tolerant and forgiving--of infidelity and adultery and divorce, as well as of homosexual behavior, that they just shrug off the fact that same-sex marriage is a direct defiance of the Creator's authority.

Armoth, the founders of our country insisted upon the non-establishment clause in our constitution's first amendment, because of their Christian beliefs. They were virtually all Protestants, who looked with great suspicion upon the church of Rome, which had subjected Europe to centuries of religious wars, and even in England the Anglican church had persecuted dissenters. That is why the founders of our country wanted it clear that the federal government was not to favor or lend its support to any edicts or institutions (establishments) of any one denomination.

[ May 27, 2009, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Marriage and the Sabbath are the two things that God instituted in Eden before the entrance of sin.

Wrong. The Sabbath was instituted at Marah in the desert, after the Exodus and before we got to Sinai. God blessed it and sanctified it in Eden, but He didn't command that it be observed or remembered until almost 2500 years later.

Video about Ron
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Synethesia, no one who believes the Bible is God's authoritative Word can ever regard homosexuality as not being sin, because the Bible does explicitly say it is.

Garbage. It says that anal sex between two men is forbidden. That doesn't make homosexuality a sin. There are any number of kinds of heterosexual intercourse that are forbidden; that doesn't make heterosexuality a sin either.

quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
How do you define human rights? Human rights most properly are considered to be those things which human nature requires. There can be no human right for same-sex marriage, because that kind of union is contrary to human nature, and is not in the best interests of the human race.

Bite me. It's not contrary to my nature, and last I checked, I was a proud member of homo sapiens.
 
Posted by Grinwell (Member # 12030) on :
 
Separation of church and state is very wise, but so is acknowledging a moral center (like the nation's fathers) when deciding what is best for society collectively. If we act under the assumption that "what is right is whatever works for you", then we will have a society where there is no good or evil, right or wrong, truth or falsehood. Rabbi Miller recently spoke about this attitude and its frightening effect on the rising generation. He doesn't touch on gay marriage, but raises fascinating questions about the place of God in society and the consequences of rejecting divine authority.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Grinwell, would you like for me to decide where your moral center should be and what is right and good for you?

I have some pretty firm opinions about what God wants you to do and not do. Would you like those opinions to become law?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
so is acknowledging a moral center (like the nation's fathers) when deciding what is best for society collectively.
So if we are supposed to acknowledge a moral center based on the religion of the nation's founders, then I guess we're supposed to be deist and definitely not christian.

The first issue with this is that the notion that we have to acknowledge this moral center is an argument posited pretty much exclusively by Christians operating on the premise that America was founded on Christian morality.

The second issue is overall the notion that we have to use the moral center of the peoples of the time as a way to decide 'what is best for society collectively' since necessarily if we adopt the morality of the founding fathers, we're adopting all the chaff from the morality of the age; slavery is now 'best for society collectively,' among other things.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Lyrhawn, and others, just as a reminder, I did not say that meteorites would fall on our cities because of any sin. I said that when God's authority as Creator is directly defied by the highest government in the land, there must be consequences, including a major withdrawal of divine protection and blessing. Since we living in a shooting gallery in our solar system, this is a vital necessity, which we can scarcely afford to do without.
So defying God's authority as Creator is to be met with...horrible rocky flaming meteor death? I guess we may as well dispense with the idea that people can choose to be Christians, then. A choice made under that sort of duress doesn't really count as a choice at all, or else why are we throwing all these mafiosos in jail?

A God who would send widespread death in response to this 'defiance' is no God at all, Ron, and the sooner that particular God is thrown out of any reasonable discussion on civil matters, the better.

Just so we're clear, though, there is morally very little if any difference between sending meteors and allowing them to fall when it is completely within your power not to do so.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
... So defying God's authority as Creator is to be met with...horrible rocky flaming meteor death? I guess we may as well dispense with the idea that people can choose to be Christians, then. ...

Only in the US. Technically, he did say "the land" which seems to imply that it is only the United States that is under this flaming meteor duress which would seem to be consistent with Canada's lack of meteor activity.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
fascinating.

*puffs on bubble pipe*
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
Indeed.
 
Posted by Darth_Mauve (Member # 4709) on :
 
Ron, still don't see much of a difference...

A) If you allow gays to be married God will send meteor's to strike our country.

B) If you allow gays to be married the defenders that God put in heaven, who bat away the meteors that God put in heaven, so that those meteors won't strike our country, will leave allowing the meteors to strike our country.

Oh, wait. Now I see the difference.

In one you are saying God is vengeful. In the second you are saying God is blackmailing us with those meteors.

The Bible also has a comment in there about not worshiping an Idol. I think that many of the most fundamental of the Christians have crossed the line and have started treating the Bible like an Idol.

It is, after all, created by man. Check the front--it has a publishing date.

While you claim that it was written only after endless hours of prayer and divine inspiration, the same was said by those who made the idols of Baal.

Be careful that you do not worship the Word instead of worshiping the God who gave it into man's fallible hands.
 
Posted by Grinwell (Member # 12030) on :
 
Kmbboots,
That's the rabbi's point. In a society where there is no accepted standard of morality, everyone will decide what is good/right/true for themselves based on their own biases. The most persuasive and powerful group will make Right. I hope that the resulting law will be as fair as possible to both sides. We want everyone to have their rights, even those sign-carrying religionists.

But what do I do with this guy at my door selling Rocky Flaming Meteor Insurance? [Wink]
 
Posted by Magson (Member # 2300) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
so is acknowledging a moral center (like the nation's fathers) when deciding what is best for society collectively.
So if we are supposed to acknowledge a moral center based on the religion of the nation's founders, then I guess we're supposed to be deist and definitely not christian.
Considering only 3 of the authors of the Constitution were Deists, while the vast majority were some version of Protestants, I'd say you set yourself up a pretty flimsy strawman there.

You are correct that the founders didn't want a specific denomination to rise to prominence, however, you are completely and utterly incorrect that they didn't think that religion and religious instruction were absolutely vital to the success of their newly created republic.

Ben Franklin (one of the 3 aforementioned Deists") in his autobiography wrote rather specific definitions of what he believed "public religion" should be, regardless of denomination, saying:
quote:
“Here is my Creed: I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render to him in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points of all Sound Religion.”
John Adams later wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson, wherein he stated:
quote:
“The general Principles, on which the Fathers achieved Independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite . . . . And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all those Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence...Now I will avow, that I then believed, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System.” (emphasis mine)
I will absolutely agree with you that there's no mention made of a specific denomination, and that is, I believe, a good thing. But to say there's no religious basis at all is to deny the writings of the founders, which makes you either ignorant or a liar. Either way, it does your argument no favors.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Grinwell, the Rabbi's point was that moral relativism is dangerous. My point is not that there is no moral center. My point, which the Rabbi did not address, is that none of us has a direct and provable line to that moral center.

The majority has proved no better at finding that moral center than the minority or even single individuals.

Until we find someone who has a demonstrable to everyone capability to judge where that moral center is, "whatever works for you" is the best we should do. Barring, of course that whatever works does no demonstrable harm.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Considering only 3 of the authors of the Constitution were Deists, while the vast majority were some version of Protestants, I'd say you set yourself up a pretty flimsy strawman there.
I'd like to see which sources claim authoritatively that exactly three of the founding fathers were deists, and no more.

Let's start with that.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Lisa, you apparently still cannot read Genesis 2:2,3 and acknowledge what it plainly says. Nor will you acknowledge that Exodus 20:11 clearly says the reason why the Sabbath was made was to serve as a memorial of Creation.

God meant for the Jews to be a good example to the rest of humanity. Part of that example was enlighted laws of sanitation, diet, providing for the poor, regular jubilees every 49 years to free everyone in bonded servitude, and keeping the memorial of God's Creation. Since God created everyone, not just the Jews, the Sabbath is a memorial of Creation for everyone.

While I know you do not accept the New Testament as part of the Bible, Christians do, and Christians can read Romans chapter one (especially verses 26, 27).

Darth_Mauve, there IS a difference. If we officially, as a nation, approve of same-sex marriage, then GOD WILL NOT PREVENT meteorites from striking inhabited regions. The late Eugene Shoemaker of the U.S. Geological Survey said that on average, a meteorite strikes earth yielding energy equivalent to the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast, at least once a year. We live in a shooting gallery, here in the inner solar system. Just look at the Moon, and notice all the craters.

Please note that the withdrawal of present protection is not the same thing as deliberately causing ruin and destruction. That will be our fault, not His. How long can you rebel against the Source of Life and expect to go on living?

Also, a minor point: Meteors are what they are called when they are still in space. When they strike earth they are called meteorites.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grinwell:
Separation of church and state is very wise, but so is acknowledging a moral center (like the nation's fathers) when deciding what is best for society collectively. If we act under the assumption that "what is right is whatever works for you", then we will have a society where there is no good or evil, right or wrong, truth or falsehood. Rabbi Miller recently spoke about this attitude and its frightening effect on the rising generation. He doesn't touch on gay marriage, but raises fascinating questions about the place of God in society and the consequences of rejecting divine authority.

Any "rabbi" who spoke at an interfaith center isn't much of a rabbi.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
If we officially, as a nation, approve of same-sex marriage, then GOD WILL NOT PREVENT meteorites from striking inhabited regions. The late Eugene Shoemaker of the U.S. Geological Survey said that on average, a meteorite strikes earth yielding energy equivalent to the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast, at least once a year. We live in a shooting gallery, here in the inner solar system. Just look at the Moon, and notice all the craters.

1. The moon doesn't have an atmosphere.

2. These strikes have occurred in inhabited and uninhabited regions alike, so what you're saying God is preventing is actually already happening. It's not like uninhabited areas are getting all of these cataclysmic impacts and there's just a city-sized crater accumulating every year off where nobody lives.

3. Basically, you're assuring us that God has all these meteors aimed directly at us in order to have angels deflect them last-minute. I guess it would be too easy just to not have them on a collision trajectory in the first place. That, or your version of God is using meteors the same way an abusive boyfriend uses the back of a palm. Always raising it, ready to slap, and say something like "why you gotta make me do this, womman, why you gotta make me do this to you"

I mean, it's already been remarked quite plainly that your image of god evokes a paranoid, brutish, and dumb creature that uses macro-level infliction of pain and tragedy in stupid ways to attempt to elicit fawning complaince, but for god's sake why do you constantly have to keep coming up with even dumber conceptualizations of the big guy. You're like Pat Robertson telling Dover County, PA that it's going to roast in cataclysm because it put Intelligent Design on trial.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Lisa, you apparently still cannot read Genesis 2:2,3 and acknowledge what it plainly says. Nor will you acknowledge that Exodus 20:11 clearly says the reason why the Sabbath was made was to serve as a memorial of Creation.

Genesis 2:2,3 - "And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He rested from all His work which God in creating had made."

There's absolutely nothing there about "keep the Sabbath day" or "remember the Sabbath day".

Exodus 20:11 - "For in six days God made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore God blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it"

This is the reason given for the commandment in Exodus 20:8 - "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." The commandment was given then (actually, shortly earlier at Marah), but the historical thing that underlies the holiness of the day took place in Eden.

You're so desperate to distort this into the Sabbath, as a requirement, having started in Eden that I've got Johnny One Note stuck in my head again. Get another song, Ron.

quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
God meant for the Jews to be a good example to the rest of humanity. Part of that example was enlighted laws of sanitation, diet, providing for the poor, regular jubilees every 49 years to free everyone in bonded servitude, and keeping the memorial of God's Creation. Since God created everyone, not just the Jews, the Sabbath is a memorial of Creation for everyone.

It's a memorial of Creation, period. But as to what the Sabbath is, I'll just have to go with what God Himself said in Exodus 31:13-17 - "Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying: Verily you shall keep My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am God who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; every one that profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to God; whoever does any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. And the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days God made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested."

"Holy unto you." "Holy to God." "A sign between Me and the children of Israel." "Throughout their generations." (twice.)

Sounds to me like God is saying that Shabbat is holy to us like it's holy to Him, that it's a sign between Him and us, and that it's for our generations. Which is to say those of the children of Israel.

You can keep accusing me of not reading what the words say, but it's clearly you who isn't doing that.

quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Please note that the withdrawal of present protection is not the same thing as deliberately causing ruin and destruction. That will be our fault, not His. How long can you rebel against the Source of Life and expect to go on living?

I don't know. You're a rebel against God, after all. He said the Sabbath is given to the Jews, and you say it's given to everyone. Have you considered taking out meteorite insurance?
 
Posted by Rappin' Ronnie Reagan (Member # 5626) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Grinwell:
Separation of church and state is very wise, but so is acknowledging a moral center (like the nation's fathers) when deciding what is best for society collectively. If we act under the assumption that "what is right is whatever works for you", then we will have a society where there is no good or evil, right or wrong, truth or falsehood. Rabbi Miller recently spoke about this attitude and its frightening effect on the rising generation. He doesn't touch on gay marriage, but raises fascinating questions about the place of God in society and the consequences of rejecting divine authority.

Any "rabbi" who spoke at an interfaith center isn't much of a rabbi.
Why?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Please note that the withdrawal of present protection is not the same thing as deliberately causing ruin and destruction. That will be our fault, not His. How long can you rebel against the Source of Life and expect to go on living?
Ron, I've already addressed that. Functionally speaking, there is little if any moral difference between actually executing an action and merely allowing something to happen, especially when one is omnipotent, as I assume you believe God to be.

"Do what I say, or I'll withdraw My 'protection' resulting in devastating natural disaster," Ron, where in the hell - pun intended - is the choice in that?

You don't get to say, "I want people to be free to choose to follow Christ," and also believe in something like that. The two notions are completely at odds with each other. It's spiritual extortion. Your God is apparently in the rackets.

I wouldn't normally put this in such blunt, insulting terms, but I can't think of another way to express how downright terrible what you're saying is. You come close to acknowledging it, at least, when you ask your question about rebelling.

Let me point out that if the consequence for rebellion is indiscriminate devastation and death, the being being rebelled against is by definition a tyrant.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Well here's what I want to know.

What did those dinosaurs do to piss off God?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Do you hafta even ask? Clearly the worst sort of sexual deviants, the lot of `em.
 
Posted by Elmer's Glue (Member # 9313) on :
 
They were atheists.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 10495) on :
 
quote:
But to say there's no religious basis at all is to deny the writings of the founders, which makes you either ignorant or a liar.
While I have no problem acknowledging that many of the founders were nominally Christian, I don't think many of them would be accepted as Christians by those in modern times that choose the label.

Regardless of their personal beliefs, it's notable that mentions of God are absent from both the Constitution and from the Federalist Papers, the purpose of which was to argue for the passage of the Constitution to a largely Christian populace. When documenting the sources upon which the principles of the Constitution were derived, several previous philosophies and systems of law were cited. Nary a word of the Bible or Jesus. In fact some of the primary opposition to the Constitution was from those who objected to its godlessness.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
While I have no problem acknowledging that many of the founders were nominally Christian, I don't think many of them would be accepted as Christians by those in modern times that choose the label.
I think that's a stretch, Matt. Maybe if you modified that to 'modern fundamentalist Christians', I'd agree.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Well, those who like to pretend the founding fathers sought to establish a Christian nation. That's primarily modern fundamentalists, but it's not exclusive to that group. I certainly know some Mormons who subscribe to that idea.
Heh. Different in interpretation I guess. To me, someone who wants to despite all evidence insist the F.F.s intended to establish a Christian nation is nearly by definition a fundamentalist Christian. I just can't think of any other segment of Christianity that would be so committed to the idea as to ignore the thousands of pages of documents lacking that very specific intent.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 10495) on :
 
Sorry for the delete there. I was going to more graciously concede the point by stating that I'd amend that to "those in modern times who seem most interested in equating the Christian identity of the founding fathers with their own modern Christian identity." ...which is primarily fundamentalists.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
More gracious? *puzzled* I didn't think your previous post was particularly ungraceful. Maybe when you use the word 'pretend'...but since I can't think of another word to use in description of that way of thinking, well...
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 10495) on :
 
Well I wasn't initially willing to conceded the point, and then I was, which I think is *more* gracious. Not that the initial post was all that ungracious [Smile]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Oh, OK. Heh. What does it say about me that I read the original post as a concession, not lacking in grace?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
To me, someone who wants to despite all evidence insist the F.F.s intended to establish a Christian nation is nearly by definition a fundamentalist Christian. I just can't think of any other segment of Christianity that would be so committed to the idea as to ignore the thousands of pages of documents lacking that very specific intent.

I don't even know what it has to do with christianity versus fundamentalist christianity. I mean, you can read the bible as literally as you want; the American revolution still isn't in it. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
I don't even know what it has to do with christianity versus fundamentalist christianity. I mean, you can read the bible as literally as you want; the American revolution still isn't in it. [Big Grin]
I don't know that it's necessarily a facet of fundamentalist Christianity either-just that I can't ever recall speaking with someone who either identifies as a fundamentalist Christian, or who I would, who didn't believe things like that.
 
Posted by Darth_Mauve (Member # 4709) on :
 
quote:
Darth_Mauve, there IS a difference. If we officially, as a nation, approve of same-sex marriage, then GOD WILL NOT PREVENT meteorites from striking inhabited regions.
Ron, I am proud that for most people on Hatrack your fear techniques don't work. The American people in general don't respond well to terror attacks, be they Muslim nuts or would-be evangelists.

What is the difference between you saying, "Obey God's law or he'll stop protecting us from WMD Meteors." and Osama Bin Laden's video where he says "Obey God's law or I'll stop protecting you from the bombs of righteous Muslims?"

Your version of God, who relies on fear and terror to keep his people safe from themselves, who tempers their free will with threats and violence that will afflict everyone in the nation, innocent, saved, or sinful is a much weaker and smaller version of God than mine.

My version of God is a better marksman, inflicting justice on individuals, not on nations, for God made the individuals, and the week individuals made the nations.

My version of God teaches not with violence and threat, but with wisdom and patience. These have proven in many studies to be much better and more enduring ways to change behavior, and my version of God is wise enough to know this.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
But to say there's no religious basis at all is to deny the writings of the founders, which makes you either ignorant or a liar.
While I have no problem acknowledging that many of the founders were nominally Christian, I don't think many of them would be accepted as Christians by those in modern times that choose the label.

Regardless of their personal beliefs, it's notable that mentions of God are absent from both the Constitution and from the Federalist Papers, the purpose of which was to argue for the passage of the Constitution to a largely Christian populace. When documenting the sources upon which the principles of the Constitution were derived, several previous philosophies and systems of law were cited. Nary a word of the Bible or Jesus. In fact some of the primary opposition to the Constitution was from those who objected to its godlessness.

But don't forget the declaration of independence had the reference to "divine providence" inserted by the congress as an edit at the end without any objection.

Also I just finished rereading McCullough's John Adams, and I get the impression he was religious enough for the whole congress, the man attended church like it was a hobby.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 10495) on :
 
quote:
But don't forget the declaration of independence had the reference to "divine providence" inserted by the congress as an edit at the end without any objection.
Sure, but this is by no means a specifically Christian concept and even such muted expression of religious deference is absent once they get down to the business of actually producing and defending the document upon which the government of the nation was established.

quote:
Also I just finished rereading McCullough's John Adams, and I get the impression he was religious enough for the whole congress, the man attended church like it was a hobby
Absolutely! Clearly several of the founding fathers were deeply religious men; some of them even devout Christians. This makes the absence of religious references in the Constitution and Federalist Papers all the more conspicuous. It was clearly the intent of these men to create a secular government.

To the suggestion that the intent of the establishment clause was that the government would merely be restricted from supporting any specific denomination, I'd point out that the following phrasing of that clause was proposed and rejected:
quote:
Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination in preference to another
EDIT: I came across a John Adams quote which I think many Mormons may appreciate - "The Calvinist, the Athanasian divines ... will say I am no Christian. I say they are no Christians, and there the account is balanced."

[ May 28, 2009, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: MattP ]
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Clearly several of the founding fathers were deeply religious men; some of them even devout Christians. This makes the absence of religious references in the Constitution and Federalist Papers all the more conspicuous. It was clearly the intent of these men to create a secular government.
^
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rappin' Ronnie Reagan:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Grinwell:
Separation of church and state is very wise, but so is acknowledging a moral center (like the nation's fathers) when deciding what is best for society collectively. If we act under the assumption that "what is right is whatever works for you", then we will have a society where there is no good or evil, right or wrong, truth or falsehood. Rabbi Miller recently spoke about this attitude and its frightening effect on the rising generation. He doesn't touch on gay marriage, but raises fascinating questions about the place of God in society and the consequences of rejecting divine authority.

Any "rabbi" who spoke at an interfaith center isn't much of a rabbi.
Why?
I'm curious to hear why as well.
 
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
 
quote:
Absolutely! Clearly several of the founding fathers were deeply religious men; some of them even devout Christians. This makes the absence of religious references in the Constitution and Federalist Papers all the more conspicuous. It was clearly the intent of these men to create a secular government.
I don't buy that. Not referring to any religion or specific set of beliefs in particular is one thing--that's basically going for the lowest common denominator, not putting any set of beliefs at the forefront in hammering out the Constitution. Calling it secular, at least in the way secular tends to be defined today, is another thing. Secular is deliberately non-religious, a removal of any religious motivation from the picture. That's different than a careful lack of specificity in religious beliefs. I think it was a wise decision not to let the Constitution sponsor any particular beliefs, obviously, but I don't think that equates to secular.
 
Posted by Occasional (Member # 5860) on :
 
I just want to interject that for Mormons the idea of the United States as a "Christian Nation" is close to a theological absolute. I understand the irony of that considering many of the Christians who hold the same ideas reject Mormonism as Christian, but there it is. Much like Ron, the de-Christianizing of the United States represents the sign of the end of the world and the beginning of the Wrath of God. There are differences of destruction methods such as meteors (wars, chaos, invasion, etc. instead), but the results are the same. When this country rejects God and specifically Jesus Christ, then God will reject it and withdraw His protection.

I believe that and therefore will do what I can to keep that from happening in my generation as best as I can. If the secularists don't like it they can lump it. Making this nation secularist is to make this nation hopeless and not worthy of protection.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
That is just...frightening.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Occasional: The craziness of that is the Mormons know first hand what a stupid idea it is to let a religious majority push around a minority.

That's what killed Joseph Smith, that's why they had to move to Utah and that's why they had to change their religion to dump polygamy.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
I just want to interject that for Mormons the idea of the United States as a "Christian Nation" is close to a theological absolute.

I don't agree, Occasional. Do you have any scriptural references?

The closest I can come is Mosiah 29:27
quote:
And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
There is definitely a subculture within the Mormon church that agrees that it is essential for the US to remain a "Christian Nation," but to ascribe that attitude as even close to a theological absolute is, to my understanding of LDS doctrine, incorrect.
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Making this nation secularist is to make this nation hopeless and not worthy of protection.
So does that mean, if we continue to keep the country secular and make it more secular where it has stopped being so, we'll encourage the extremely religious to leave?

Because I can get behind that.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
I think advice for robots is right - "secular" is not the right word for what the founding fathers intended. "Neutral towards religion" would be a better way to describe it. I definitely don't think the founding fathers ever intended for the government to exclusively act as if it were assuming atheism to be true, which is essentially what "secularism" has come to mean.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
quote:
Originally posted by Rappin' Ronnie Reagan:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Any "rabbi" who spoke at an interfaith center isn't much of a rabbi.

Why?
I'm curious to hear why as well.
Link
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
which is essentially what "secularism" has come to mean.

Thanks to those who don't want the country to be biased towards religion. Anything other than that, even secularism (which is neutral) would obviously seem 'pro-atheism' to them.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
I just want to interject that for Mormons the idea of the United States as a "Christian Nation" is close to a theological absolute ... Much like Ron, the de-Christianizing of the United States represents the sign of the end of the world and the beginning of the Wrath of God. There are differences of destruction methods such as meteors (wars, chaos, invasion, etc. instead), but the results are the same. When this country rejects God and specifically Jesus Christ, then God will reject it and withdraw His protection.

OK. Mormons ~= Ron - meteors + other random destruction

Got it.

quote:
Making this nation secularist is to make this nation hopeless and not worthy of protection.
And we're clear that the United States is a special case with this odd divine handicap. Interesting.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 10495) on :
 
quote:
Secular is deliberately non-religious, a removal of any religious motivation from the picture. That's different than a careful lack of specificity in religious beliefs.
There are no general allusion to religious beliefs present in those documents either. What sort of religious motivations do you believe were intended, and how and where are those intentions documented?

In my view, secularity is a position of neutrality. It means the government takes no position on religious matters - it doesn't mean the government forbids religious expression, merely that the government itself should not be the source of any such expression.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
Tresopax: What would be wrong with the government acting as if atheism was correct, as long as free exercise of religion is protected?
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 10495) on :
 
quote:
And we're clear that the United States is a special case with this odd divine handicap. Interesting.
I was just wondering why Japan wasn't getting a steady torrent of meteoric destruction. Or Canada.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 10495) on :
 
quote:
I definitely don't think the founding fathers ever intended for the government to exclusively act as if it were assuming atheism to be true, which is essentially what "secularism" has come to mean.
This is only what it has come to mean in the mind of those who want the government to facilitate the promotion of their preferred religion and who are frustrated by the inability to compel the government to do so. It is just as illegal for a school teacher to say "there is no God" as it is for a school teacher to lead a prayer in class.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Tresopax: What would be wrong with the government acting as if atheism was correct, as long as free exercise of religion is protected?

Meteors b****. Thats whats wrong.

Or according to Occasional, Mormons should expect destruction not in meteor form. I would guess we should be looking for hurricanes destroying cities, massive failures in war, financial collapses, epidemics of disease ... oh crap. Mormonism is true! Run away from the States!
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
I definitely don't think the founding fathers ever intended for the government to exclusively act as if it were assuming atheism to be true, which is essentially what "secularism" has come to mean.
This is only what it has come to mean in the mind of those who want the government to facilitate the promotion of their preferred religion and who are frustrated by the inability to compel the government to do so.
Exactly.

Mucus, [Eek!] [Angst] [Wall Bash] [Laugh]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
No Matt, that's not quite true either. There are certainly people who think that 'secular' should mean/must mean 'atheism is correct'. They're no less real than the fundamentalists who believe we were founded as a Christian nation, though they are just as wrong.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
No Matt, that's not quite true either. There are certainly people who think that 'secular' should mean/must mean 'atheism is correct'. They're no less real than the fundamentalists who believe we were founded as a Christian nation, though they are just as wrong.

Granting this, do you want to take a stab at my question to Tresopax? What would be wrong with the government acting as if this was true?

I tend to think the government acting in a neutral secular fashion is probably the same as the government acting in an atheistic fashion as long as the 1st amendment sticks.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I personally,l would prefer an agnostic government. "Atheism" carries too much certainty. I don't want a government that is certain about anything religious. In fact, I would like a government that avoids the question. Like a secular government. Which is what I continue to pray we will continue to have.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Granting this, do you want to take a stab at my question to Tresopax? What would be wrong with the government acting as if this was true?
Legally? I don't know if anything would be wrong with it. My personal preference for my government, though, is for it to take a strictly neutral stance towards everything. 'Atheism is correct' is completely at odds with that desire...especially since having the government committed to secularism in fact as well as in name is a core element of our government.

I mean, look at how things have gone in the United States. Committed to secularism in name but not so much in fact, and stuff starts to creep into our laws, First Amendment being an imperfect shield in the long run.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
I'm hoping for a specific example of what an "atheist" government would do that would be bad, as long as the 1st amendment continues to exist.

Other than inviting the wrath of God. (thanks Mucus).

Edit: thanks Rakeesh. I'm not proposing that we enact a law or pass an amendment that says "Atheism is correct." that'd be wrong. I'm just trying to get to the core of Tresopax's concern that secularists won't be satisfies unless the government is acting as if atheism is correct. I want to know which acts in particular would indicate this belief in particular. I don't think there are any. I think neutral secularism would express itself the same way.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
I can't think offhand of anything specific right now. It's about attitude. Like I said, look at the history of Christianity in this country, versus say Judaism or Buddhism or what have you.

I believe that if the unspoken attitude of 'but Christianity is right' hadn't (and still continues to be, of course, though not nearly as much as it once was) been so prevalent in our culture and our government, the history of the First Amendment would look different.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
quote:
Originally posted by Rappin' Ronnie Reagan:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Any "rabbi" who spoke at an interfaith center isn't much of a rabbi.

Why?
I'm curious to hear why as well.
Link
What a horrendous message.
quote:
Pointless, dangerous, and unnecessary – those should be enough reasons for avoiding interfaith dialogue.

 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
Rakeesh, I'm rather ignorant, so any explication of the relevant history that you can provide or refer me to would be sincerely appreciated. Not that it's your job to educate me.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
I just want to interject that for Mormons the idea of the United States as a "Christian Nation" is close to a theological absolute. I understand the irony of that considering many of the Christians who hold the same ideas reject Mormonism as Christian, but there it is. Much like Ron, the de-Christianizing of the United States represents the sign of the end of the world and the beginning of the Wrath of God. There are differences of destruction methods such as meteors (wars, chaos, invasion, etc. instead), but the results are the same. When this country rejects God and specifically Jesus Christ, then God will reject it and withdraw His protection.

I believe that and therefore will do what I can to keep that from happening in my generation as best as I can. If the secularists don't like it they can lump it. Making this nation secularist is to make this nation hopeless and not worthy of protection.

Do you actually believe this load of crap? This is what I would expect from the ramblings of a crazy paranoid lunatic.

Do you think Canada is gonna be destroyed to in a blaze of fire and death since "we" accepted these things decades ago.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
What a horrendous message.
quote:
Pointless, dangerous, and unnecessary – those should be enough reasons for avoiding interfaith dialogue.

I don't think it's horrendous. The religion doesn't allow for the possibility of betterment through theological dialogue with other faiths. That's not the same as saying "don't talk to those of other faiths." It's about deliberate, formal exchange of religious ideas. Doesn't preclude harmonious co-existence.

Anyway, all you have to do is observe Lisa's conversations with Ron to validate the "pointless" part. [Wink]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
I'm not thinking so much of great big events. Just an amalgam of all sorts of news stories I've heard over the years, especially on the local level, particularly involving schools and school prayer and the like.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
I've got a very close friend who works for a non-for-profit interfaith and community service group, and she fights every day against this "Nope! I've got nothing to learn from you!" attitude. She fights it to the point of nervous breakdowns, from time to time.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:


Anyway, all you have to do is observe Lisa's conversations with Ron to validate the "pointless" part. [Wink]

Do you really think that everyone is ike that? There is a great deal of common ground in many religions and I have seen many instances of interfaith groups doing very good work on poverty, violence, education and so forth.

ETA: Or more snarkily, it would be such a bad thing for us to understand each other better? Perhaps with a bit more interfaith dialogue, Mr. Rosenblum would know that "Unlike rabbis, the Pope has the power to enunciate new doctrine" is not exactly the case.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Do you think Canada is gonna be destroyed to in a blaze of fire and death since "we" accepted these things decades ago.
'Decades'? If memory serves, hasn't it been about one decade since Canadian same-sex couples were able to enjoy most of the legal rights of marriage?
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
Technically, Occasional said "When this country rejects God and specifically Jesus Christ." It is indeterminate when precisely that moment occurred in Canada, but I think it is fair to say that if it is happening in the US "now," it probably did happen decades ago in Canada.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:


Anyway, all you have to do is observe Lisa's conversations with Ron to validate the "pointless" part. [Wink]

Do you really think that everyone is ike that? There is a great deal of common ground in many religions and I have seen many instances of interfaith groups doing very good work on poverty, violence, education and so forth.

ETA: Or more snarkily, it would be such a bad thing for us to understand each other better? Perhaps with a bit more interfaith dialogue, Mr. Rosenblum would know that "Unlike rabbis, the Pope has the power to enunciate new doctrine" is not exactly the case.

No, not everyone. perhaps that was the wrong place to try to make a joke.

And no, *I* don't think it would be bad for religions to try to understand each other better. But I don't think "horrendous" is the right way to describe the view that Lisa was relating. "Mistaken" I would not have objected to.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
I still think it's horrendous.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Occasional: The craziness of that is the Mormons know first hand what a stupid idea it is to let a religious majority push around a minority.

That's what killed Joseph Smith, that's why they had to move to Utah and that's why they had to change their religion to dump polygamy.

"Dump" is not a good verb for it. The church has never said Joseph Smith was wrong for instituting it, just like I've yet to hear a Christian say Abraham, Israel, and David were all living in sin with their multiple wives. Currently it is not mandatory for it to exist right now, just as we don't live the law of consecration.

I think the heart of this debate is what secularism means. Joseph Smith promoted a very secular society in that he believed Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc should all be welcome to live amongst the Mormons, and that their laws should be decided upon together. Some people think that secularism means a sort of null hypothesis approach to God, in that we start with no God in all decisions, and if God wants us to do something He personally can make us all observe it.

I don't necessarily agree with Occassional that secularism is slowly removing God's protection from the US. But I do believe that if the day comes that those who believe in God are treated like they are on crazy pills, that we will reap what we sow. I don't think we are there yet, or even close to it, but it is disheartening for people to wish that religion would just die as they have concluded it is of no value.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Link

What a horrendous message.
What a horrendous response.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
I've got a very close friend who works for a non-for-profit interfaith and community service group, and she fights every day against this "Nope! I've got nothing to learn from you!" attitude. She fights it to the point of nervous breakdowns, from time to time.

Well, maybe she should find something more productive to do with her time. Judaism has nothing to learn from any religion. Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's monologue; not dialogue.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I don't necessarily agree with Occassional that secularism is slowly removing God's protection from the US. But I do believe that if the day comes that those who believe in God are treated like they are on crazy pills, that we will reap what we sow. I don't think we are there yet, or even close to it, but it is disheartening for people to wish that religion would just die as they have concluded it is of no value.

Then fewer religious people should act like they are on crazy pills and, instead, do things that are of value.
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
But I do believe that if the day comes that those who believe in God are treated like they are on crazy pills, that we will reap what we sow.
Meaning they are treated that way by a large amount of the population, or treated that way as government policy?

I also think that "reaping what you sow" to be how the world should (and mostly does) work. If we do good things, we reap the benefits. If we do bad things, we take responsibility. I'd prefer not to be protected from such things.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Tresopax: What would be wrong with the government acting as if atheism was correct, as long as free exercise of religion is protected?
The same thing that's wrong with a person who believes in viruses but then goes around acting as if viruses don't exist: his actions will likely lead him to get sick.

In the case of religion, if people believe in various religions but support a government that acts as if all religions are false, the many concerns that those religions raise will be invisible to the government. As a result, if those concerns are as real as the people believe they are, the government will likely end up making wrong decisions about how to go about handling them.

Or in other words, Mucus is right. If the majority believe meteors could strike if we don't correctly follow God's will, they'd be crazy to support a government that acts as if atheism is true - unless of course they believe God's will is that we should support a government that acts as if atheism is true. Otherwise, we're in grave danger of a meteoric death.

In America, people of all different sorts of religions support separation of church and state, but the reason for that is because history has shown that governments which take sides on religion risk becoming corrupt, and/or oppressive. History has shown that it hurts all of us in the long run to try and enforce our immediate religious priorities on everyone. Yet we have to balance that against the risk of failing to address religious issues that most citizens believe to be important. To strike that balance, we must recognize the potential validity of religious concerns and address them when we can, while simultaneously working to keep the government in a neutral position to all religious viewpoints. That means the government should neither say "You need to be religious" nor "Your concern is irrelevant to us because it is founded in a religion and only secular concerns are relevant."
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
Alright, maybe not horrendous. But very close-minded. It makes things seem very black and white. You either are inside or outside. "There is no more place in the halachic process for the opinions of those lacking such a grounding, be they Jew or gentile, than there is for polling synagogue members to determine halachic practice."

It's a virtual end of discussions, of synthesis, or progress, of integration into the whole of the human species. I'm atheist, and this is what I find most frustrating about many of these discussions.

"Reasonable argument is impossible when authority becomes the arbiter." - Orson Scott Card
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:


Anyway, all you have to do is observe Lisa's conversations with Ron to validate the "pointless" part. [Wink]

Do you really think that everyone is ike that? There is a great deal of common ground in many religions and I have seen many instances of interfaith groups doing very good work on poverty, violence, education and so forth.

ETA: Or more snarkily, it would be such a bad thing for us to understand each other better? Perhaps with a bit more interfaith dialogue, Mr. Rosenblum would know that "Unlike rabbis, the Pope has the power to enunciate new doctrine" is not exactly the case.

And that would help us, how exactly? Interfaith groups aren't for us to understand one another. They're for us to blur our self-definitions to the point where the major conflicts no longer exist.

I went to a talk back in college in the lounge of my dorm given by some kids from IVCF. One of my secular Jewish friends insisted that I go to argue. I wasn't even religious myself at the time, but she know I knew more about Judaism than she did, and she was freaking about the title of the talk: "Proof of the Resurrection". Gag me. I told her that she was being hysterical and to relax, but she couldn't, and she kept badgering me, so I went.

(Turns out the "proof" was reading a passage from the Christian Bible that said it happened. QED, I guess.)

Anyway, one of the guys there explained, with no malice whatsoever, that because we hadn't accepted JC as our personal savior, we were going to burn in hell. He wasn't all, "Yay, the Jews are going to roast!" or anything like that. Just very matter of fact. Like he was saying that salt water freezes at a lower temperature than regular water.

Ellen (my friend) was appalled, as were a bunch of the other Intervarsity kids. I couldn't understand the upset. He was simply being honest about his faith. It isn't like I didn't already know that they believed that. I had a lot more respect for him than I did for the ones who believe it and fudge that fact in order to "dialogue".

Christianity says "the only way to the Father is through me". Muslims say that Jews are apes and pigs (link). Judaism says that non-Jews don't have fathers, and we aren't allowed to drink wine if a non-Jew has touched the bottle while it was open (unless the wine is pasteurized).

It's all very charming, and I can already hear the cries of "Why can't we focus on what we have in common, rather than what we don't", but even what we seem to have in common isn't, really.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
kmbboots: Granted, but the fact Christianity is so fractured beyond recognition makes it impossible to come together and do many things of value.

Javert: Either way is unfavorable IMO. The fact a large amount of the population says that atheists are inherently untrustworthy and therefor unfit for political office to me is ridiculous. I'd rather have honest atheists in office than ones who have to lie to get elected.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Well, maybe she should find something more productive to do with her time. Judaism has nothing to learn from any religion. Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's monologue; not dialogue.

Is it just me, or is this response horrendous? How about arrogant? Defeatist? Counterproductive? Religious jingoism?
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Javert: Either way is unfavorable IMO.

Agreed. But one I would view as just unfavorable, and the other both unfavorable and illegal.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Interfaith groups aren't for us to understand one another. They're for us to blur our self-definitions to the point where the major conflicts no longer exist.

Right. My friend is out there with the goal of blurring self-definitions.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
Alright, maybe not horrendous. But very close-minded. It makes things seem very black and white. You either are inside or outside. "There is no more place in the halachic process for the opinions of those lacking such a grounding, be they Jew or gentile, than there is for polling synagogue members to determine halachic practice."

It's a virtual end of discussions, of synthesis, or progress, of integration into the whole of the human species. I'm atheist, and this is what I find most frustrating about many of these discussions.

Well, you're an atheist, so it probably seems as reasonable to you as arguing about how many noodly appendenges the FSM has.

Understand... Judaism will never assimilate into the generality of humanity. We will always be separate. It's who we are. It's the task appointed to us by God. So when you use "integration into the whole of the human species" as some sort of ideal, I can only laugh. You just don't understand.

quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
"Reasonable argument is impossible when authority becomes the arbiter." - Orson Scott Card

Heh. Savor the irony.
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's arrogance; not dialogue.
There, fixed that.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
The White Whale, I tend to find in religion far more questions than answers and more issues to explore than authority.

That is one of the reasons that the certainty of atheism in government is as worrisome as the certainty of religion. I prefer that government knows that it can't know everything. Certainty in government leads to some bad stuff.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Well, you're an atheist, so it probably seems as reasonable to you as arguing about how many noodly appendenges the FSM has.

Nope. Because the number of appendages of the FSM doesn't dictate how a person interacts with others. Religious upbringing and beliefs do.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Well, maybe she should find something more productive to do with her time. Judaism has nothing to learn from any religion. Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's monologue; not dialogue.

Is it just me, or is this response horrendous? How about arrogant? Defeatist? Counterproductive? Religious jingoism?
Horrendous, no. Arrogant, sure. Defeatist, Counterproductive, depends on what the goal is. If the goal is "integration into the whole of the human species", then yes. But if that's seen as a nightmare, rather than a goal, then no.

Religious jingoism? Dictionary.com says that means "the spirit, policy, or practice of jingoes; bellicose chauvinism." It defines "jingoes" as "a person who professes his or her patriotism loudly and excessively, favoring vigilant preparedness for war and an aggressive foreign policy; bellicose chauvinist."

You seem to be implying that expressing the view you don't like in any manner whatsoever is religious jingoism, which is clearly untrue.

"Bellicose"? Dictionary.com says "inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious." How is not wanting to engage the same as eager to fight, or agressively hostile?

Do you use words according to their meanings, or do you use them in some vague impressionist way? It seems like the latter, but I'm honestly curious to know what your intent is.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's arrogance; not dialogue.
There, fixed that.
If you like. Not all arrogance is bad. Justifiable arrogance is... well, justified. I mean, if I say, "I know more about Judaism than you do", is that arrogant? I think it is, don't you? It's also true. So why is "Judaism knows more about God than any other source" any different?
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
Believe it or not, I usually bite my tongue a bit when posting anything here about Judaism. I'm just not in the mood to do so today.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Javert: Either way is unfavorable IMO.

Agreed. But one I would view as just unfavorable, and the other both unfavorable and illegal.
Well yes, I wasn't really trying to say everything those things would be.
 
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
 
Really quick:

Not all Mormons believe the way that Occasional believes. It is not nearly as black and white as he makes it out to be.

We do believe that cultures and individuals that reject God open themselves to tragedy, but certainly we don't know what form that tragedy will take. And normally, we don't know what particular sin brought the tragedy on, or whether there was a sin at all that initiated it.

The key word here is "reject." In order for a person or culture to sin they have to make a choice to not follow God's laws.

It's not really our place to say, "HA! If you'd been righteous, this wouldn't/won't happen to you!" That's God's call. It is our responsibility to prevent tragedy where we can, help those affected by tragedy, and to teach the gospel.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
One problem that interfaith dialogue can address is the assumption that the loudest and most extreme voices are representative of any particular faith. We find out things like the fact that not all Christians believe that Jews burn in hell.

Lisa, do you really think that I don't have a father? What definition of father are you using? Or would explaining that be too much dialogue and you would prefer that I just think you odd?

Thank God I know a lot of other Jews.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
So why is "Judaism knows more about God than any other source" any different?

It can't be proven.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
One problem that interfaith dialogue can address is the assumption that the loudest and most extreme voices are representative of any particular faith. We find out things like the fact that not all Christians believe that Jews burn in hell.

Lisa, do you really think that I don't have a father? What definition of father are you using? Or would explaining that be too much dialogue and you would prefer that I just think you odd?

Thank God I know a lot of other Jews.

I'm grateful I know Lisa in addition to other Jews.
 
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Believe it or not, I usually bite my tongue a bit when posting anything here about Judaism.

Yes, that can happen when you gnash your teeth.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
BlackBlade, I also thank God that most people have more patience than I do and that you are a micer person than I am. [Smile]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Javert, do you believe differently from Lisa with respect to your own beliefs on that 'fixed' quote? Somehow I doubt it.

Also, Scott is entirely correct. Though I very much hope no one needed that pointed out to them, how very narrow Occassional's scope is.

Edit:
quote:
Then fewer religious people should act like they are on crazy pills and, instead, do things that are of value.
You can replace 'religious people' with just about any noun describing large groups of people, and this sentence remains exactly as accurate.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
BlackBlade, I also thank God that most people have more patience than I do and that you are a micer person than I am. [Smile]

Come now Kate, if the mean of humanity's patience was set at your level, we'd be much better off, you're nuts if you think otherwise.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Rakeesh, yes of course. We were discussing religious people at the time.

BlackBlade, thank you. I am afraid that I don't have much for people who want to make their personal belief that we can't live cooperatively with each other self-fulfilling.

I should have more sympathy for why they believe that rather than losing my temper.

Lisa, I am sorry that you had to deal with idiots in college.
 
Posted by dkw (Member # 3264) on :
 
There are a variety of types of interfaith groups. With some of them I agree with Lisa, they have a tendency to water everything down to the least common denominator. Most attempts at interfaith worship services or “nonsectarian” prayers fall into that group.

But there are other organizations that, while respecting different beliefs, manage to work together on common goals. One that I’m thinking of was an advisory committee to the chaplain’s office at a hospital. They made sure that every patient had access to clergy/religious leaders of their own faith, ran interference for patients whose faith required accommodations different from normal hospital practice, and held training sessions for doctors/staff on what special accommodations might be required. And, as a side effect or as part of building community among the group, learned about each other’s faith traditions – without anybody trying to convert anybody else.

Aside: the idea of an IVCF event being presented as an example of "interfaith dialouge" is one I find very odd.
 
Posted by ken_in_sc (Member # 12072) on :
 
God sends his rain on both the just and the unjust. Also his meteors. God’s judgement is not in this time but in the time to come. If a meteor wipes you out, it is not God’s judgment, but merely what is needed to be done to reorganize things. Your soul survives. you may see darkly now, but you will see clearly later.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
Tresopax: What would be wrong with the government acting as if atheism was correct, as long as free exercise of religion is protected?
The same thing that's wrong with a person who believes in viruses but then goes around acting as if viruses don't exist: his actions will likely lead him to get sick.

In the case of religion, if people believe in various religions but support a government that acts as if all religions are false, the many concerns that those religions raise will be invisible to the government. As a result, if those concerns are as real as the people believe they are, the government will likely end up making wrong decisions about how to go about handling them.

Or in other words, Mucus is right. If the majority believe meteors could strike if we don't correctly follow God's will, they'd be crazy to support a government that acts as if atheism is true - unless of course they believe God's will is that we should support a government that acts as if atheism is true. Otherwise, we're in grave danger of a meteoric death.

In America, people of all different sorts of religions support separation of church and state, but the reason for that is because history has shown that governments which take sides on religion risk becoming corrupt, and/or oppressive. History has shown that it hurts all of us in the long run to try and enforce our immediate religious priorities on everyone. Yet we have to balance that against the risk of failing to address religious issues that most citizens believe to be important. To strike that balance, we must recognize the potential validity of religious concerns and address them when we can, while simultaneously working to keep the government in a neutral position to all religious viewpoints. That means the government should neither say "You need to be religious" nor "Your concern is irrelevant to us because it is founded in a religion and only secular concerns are relevant."

Thanks for responding, I appreciate that. I now have a pretty good handle on the nature of the concern that a government that appears to be acting as if atheism is correct might be insensitive to religiously founded concerns.

In all the examples I can think of, I think that would be a good result, but I fully recognize that others will strongly disagree with me. I was wondering if there might be an example where I could agree it was a bad result. The ones I have in mind, with sound-bite rationale:


Since I already know people won't agree with the first three, I wonder if religious people think I'm right about war and taxes, and what other examples they can think of where religiously founded concerns should be recognized by the government, rather than being ignored. I'm really interested in whether I can come around to the point of view that acting as if atheism is correct (while preserving religious freedom) would be an unfortunate thing for our government to do.
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Javert, do you believe differently from Lisa with respect to your own beliefs on that 'fixed' quote? Somehow I doubt it.

I do, actually. I think I'm right, of course. But I recognize the possibility that I could be wrong, and very often look to others to see if I can learn from them.

And if you showed me good evidence, I'd change my views and thank you for it.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
I was using "fanatical patriotism" as my definition of jingoism, in that you seen to me so sure that your religious viewpoint is correct that you reject others without any form of rational discussion.

quote:
Horrendous, no. Arrogant, sure. Defeatist, Counterproductive, depends on what the goal is. If the goal is "integration into the whole of the human species", then yes. But if that's seen as a nightmare, rather than a goal, then no.
How about the goal being to live peacefully with the humans around you, embracing the diversity for what it is, because there is no way to be absolutely certain that your was is the best or only way? Disagree and fight with topics and practices that you don't agree with, but at least be open to their points of views first.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Javert, do you believe differently from Lisa with respect to your own beliefs on that 'fixed' quote? Somehow I doubt it.

I do, actually. I think I'm right, of course. But I recognize the possibility that I could be wrong, and very often look to others to see if I can learn from them.

And if you showed me good evidence, I'd change my views and thank you for it.

A shorter way to post this would have been: "Yeah, but my arrogance is justified," you know:)
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
A shorter way to post this would have been: "Yeah, but my arrogance is justified," you know:)

Since when does arrogance involve acknowledging you could be wrong?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Since when does arrogance involve acknowledging you could be wrong?
Since when does acknowledging you could be wrong preclude arrogance?
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Since when does arrogance involve acknowledging you could be wrong?
Since when does acknowledging you could be wrong preclude arrogance?
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

Alright then.

It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Lisa, do you really think that I don't have a father? What definition of father are you using? Or would explaining that be too much dialogue and you would prefer that I just think you odd?

Not at all. I mean, you can go ahead and think me odd; that's fine. But the father thing is purely a technicality. It sounds much worse than it is.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

Alright then.

It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.

Jokes on you, double posting is a sure sign of arrogance. Even if you delete the second post it's too late!
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Of all people, I appreciate the idea of wanting to live apart from the majority of humanity. I don't want to be borgified into "Humanity as One" either.

Associating with those outside your ideals, however does lead to less persecution, though. It doesn't stop it completely. People who are your friends can still go stabby-stabby when their dogma conflicts with your rights, but it DOES reduce the risk by making them see you as people and not "Them."
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.
Well, naturally:)
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
But there are other organizations that, while respecting different beliefs, manage to work together on common goals.

See, and I think that's a very good thing. I don't look at that as interfaith dialogue. More as interfaith cooperation.

quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Aside: the idea of an IVCF event being presented as an example of "interfaith dialouge" is one I find very odd.

The IVCF event itself wasn't. I was talking about the part where the discussion turned to interfaith issues.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
I was using "fanatical patriotism" as my definition of jingoism, in that you seen to me so sure that your religious viewpoint is correct that you reject others without any form of rational discussion.

<shrug> I've been through the whole investigational stage. I found answers that satisfy my mind. Among those answers are things that utterly invalidate other religions by definition.

quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
quote:
Horrendous, no. Arrogant, sure. Defeatist, Counterproductive, depends on what the goal is. If the goal is "integration into the whole of the human species", then yes. But if that's seen as a nightmare, rather than a goal, then no.
How about the goal being to live peacefully with the humans around you, embracing the diversity for what it is, because there is no way to be absolutely certain that your was is the best or only way? Disagree and fight with topics and practices that you don't agree with, but at least be open to their points of views first.
I can live and let live. But no, I'm not even a little open to Christian or Muslim or or Hindu or Shinto ideas.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
A shorter way to post this would have been: "Yeah, but my arrogance is justified," you know:)

Since when does arrogance involve acknowledging you could be wrong?
How does it not? If I say that someone whose Jewish scholarship can change my mind about religious issues, it doesn't make my assertion that you couldn't any less arrogant. Compared to real Jewish scholars, I'm an ignoramus when it comes to Judaism. Compared to me, you are.
 
Posted by Javert (Member # 3076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

Alright then.

It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.

Jokes on you, double posting is a sure sign of arrogance. Even if you delete the second post it's too late!
Sorry BB. Double posting is a sure sign of idiocy. And I've never denied that I'm a first class idiot.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
If it were anyone but you Lisa, I would find that shocking. It's people like you that give my friend nervous breakdowns.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Lisa, if your idea of interfaith dialogue is about people trying to convert one another I would agree that it would be a bad thing. That has not been my experience of interfaith dialogue. My exrience is that it has been about appreciating differences, finding common ground, recoginizing each other as human beings and trying to do some good.

How do people achieve cooperation without dialogue?

I would also add that I have participated in some rich, deep, celebratory, and not at all watered-down interfaith worship events. Along with some that have not been so good.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

Alright then.

It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.

Jokes on you, double posting is a sure sign of arrogance. Even if you delete the second post it's too late!
Sorry BB. Double posting is a sure sign of idiocy. And I've never denied that I'm a first class idiot.
Well it looks like we are a party of two then. How many do we need before we can make up a God to be in charge of us?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
I can live and let live. But no, I'm not even a little open to Christian or Muslim or or Hindu or Shinto ideas.

So you couldn't, for example, find some common ground with the Shinto idea that we should be grateful for what we receive or concepts of ritual purity or even that killing should be done only when necessary?
 
Posted by Darth_Mauve (Member # 4709) on :
 
Interfaith dialogue works. How else would all the different people of faith be able to get together and attack their common foes:

People who question faith.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Sigh. Yes. Doubters are the enemy. That is exactly what I have been trying to say.
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
What? How is that a foe? Strawman alert!
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
I think we need a sarcasm-o-meter.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
I can live and let live. But no, I'm not even a little open to Christian or Muslim or or Hindu or Shinto ideas.

So you couldn't, for example, find some common ground with the Shinto idea that we should be grateful for what we receive or concepts of ritual purity or even that killing should be done only when necessary?
Whether Shinto has that idea or not is utterly irrelevant to me. Judaism does, so why do I care if Shinto does?
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
If it were anyone but you Lisa, I would find that shocking. It's people like you that give my friend nervous breakdowns.

That says more about you and your friend than it does about me, I think.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
I can live and let live. But no, I'm not even a little open to Christian or Muslim or or Hindu or Shinto ideas.

So you couldn't, for example, find some common ground with the Shinto idea that we should be grateful for what we receive or concepts of ritual purity or even that killing should be done only when necessary?
Whether Shinto has that idea or not is utterly irrelevant to me. Judaism does, so why do I care if Shinto does?
Because, since we don't actually live on separate little islands, you might, someday, have or even want to interact with someone of that faith and it might be good to not see that person as entirely other and it might be good for that person to see you as not entirely other. You being sympathetic to their beliefs - not sharing them - and their being sympathetic to yours could be a good thing. You might give each other some accommodation.
 
Posted by Darth_Mauve (Member # 4709) on :
 
Sorry, crushed for time so I did a bad post.

The enemy is the Secularists. These are people who don't go to church regularly and promote things like Evolution, Global Warming, and other Secularistic non-denominational ideas.
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
Still wrong. Still a strawman.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Sorry, crushed for time so I did a bad post.

The enemy is the Secularists. These are people who don't go to church regularly and promote things like Evolution, Global Warming, and other Secularistic non-denominational ideas.

[Wall Bash]
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
Specifically, your use of the word "enemy" makes everything after it suspect, and then the rest of the post is even more nonsense.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I am reasonably sure that Darth Mauve is something other than entirely serious.
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
I see no reason to suppose he is not serious.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I may be being optimistic. He hasn't seemed particularly thick or unreasonable before, though, to my recollection.
 
Posted by Darth_Mauve (Member # 4709) on :
 
I am not serious.

Certainly there are people of faith that would soon be verbally battling each other if more convenient targets such as biologists who discuss evolution were not there.

But that is not why inter-faith organizations exist, nor have I ever even heard about such things being on any agendas.
 
Posted by 0Megabyte (Member # 8624) on :
 
katherina:

No reason? How about an obviously sarcastic and flippant post exaggerating beyond all reasonableness?

Where's your sense of humor?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Thanks for clearing that up Darth. [Wink]
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
I'm glad it wasn't serious.

There are so many outrageous and wrong statements made about religion here that my conclusion was reasonable.

Otherwise, I would have to assume that Lisa and KoM are walking, talking, antisocial parodies. I half-suspect it anyway.
 
Posted by 0Megabyte (Member # 8624) on :
 
Eh, possibly so, katharina.

I don't dislike them, and I even agree with them both on a number of things, but I totally understand what you're getting at.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by katharina:

There are so many outrageous and wrong statements made about religion here that my conclusion was reasonable.

Last week, would you have thought it was outrageous and wrong for someone to claim that some religious people think that meteors might hit the US if it legalizes gay marraige?
 
Posted by Armoth (Member # 4752) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Believe it or not, I usually bite my tongue a bit when posting anything here about Judaism. I'm just not in the mood to do so today.

Maybe you should not have taken today off...
 
Posted by Armoth (Member # 4752) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
One problem that interfaith dialogue can address is the assumption that the loudest and most extreme voices are representative of any particular faith. We find out things like the fact that not all Christians believe that Jews burn in hell.

Lisa, do you really think that I don't have a father? What definition of father are you using? Or would explaining that be too much dialogue and you would prefer that I just think you odd?

Thank God I know a lot of other Jews.

Is it wrong for me to be offended by this? It's like saying "Thank God I know other black people."

Because if you didn't know other Jews - you would be silly enough to generalize to all other Jews?
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Armoth:
...
Because if you didn't know other Jews - you would be silly enough to generalize to all other Jews?

quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
I just want to interject that for Mormons the idea of the United States as a "Christian Nation" is close to a theological absolute ... Much like Ron, the de-Christianizing of the United States represents the sign of the end of the world and the beginning of the Wrath of God.

Awww, no generalizing?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I certainly would have missed out on some rewarding and enriching interfaith experiences.
 
Posted by Armoth (Member # 4752) on :
 
I consider this forum to be a great interfaith experience.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Lyrhawn, the dinosaurs did not all die out until the beginning of the Christian era. The T-Rexs whose bones have been found still containing soft tissue in the American west probably only died a thousand years or so ago. They were hunted to extinction in Europe--where they were called "dragons." Representative pairs (or sevens if not predators)--or their eggs--were probably preserved on the Ark.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Lisa, can you possibly accept the idea that God might have asked the Jews to regard keeping the Sabbath as a special covenant duty for them, without that excluding the fact that the Sabbath was intended as a memorial of Creation for everyone? The commandment begins with the words, "REMEMBER the Sabbath day, to KEEP it holy." (Exodus 20:8) That does not sound like something new that only then was being instituted. The fact that the Sabbath was not only then being instituted is also born out by the fact that for many months prior to Sinai, manna only fell six days a week, and never on the Sabbath, and a double portion fell on the day before the Sabbath. See Ex. 16:22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
I am posting in this high quality interfaith experience
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Careful, Mucus. "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." (1 Cor. 3:19) Also, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14)

Lisa, notice how many times God refers to the Sabbath as "My Sabbaths." (Ex. 31:13; Lev. 19:3; and 13 more.) Also before Sinai they are called "a sabbath unto the Lord" (Ex. 16:23, 25)

Thus the Scripture plainly declares the Sabbath to be the Lord's, not the Jews'. He may have given the Sabbaths to the Jews to be a special sign that He is the Lord who sanctifies them (Ex. 31:13), but they are still His Sabbaths.

Lisa, do not the Jews wish for all humanity to worship God? How then can you object if others besides Jews honor His Sabbaths?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Lyrhawn, the dinosaurs did not all die out until the beginning of the Christian era. The T-Rexs whose bones have been found still containing soft tissue in the American west probably only died a thousand years or so ago. They were hunted to extinction in Europe--where they were called "dragons." Representative pairs (or sevens if not predators)--or their eggs--were probably preserved on the Ark.

It is like this forum is actually a game show where various competitors attempt to be the greatest parody of their faith/ideology/worldview.

It's okay, Ron. You don't have to pad your score. You won. You are the most ridiculous poster. You keep squaring off against Lisa as if you're worried she could hold a torch to you. Hell, you don't even have to worry about Occasional. You win.
 
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
 
Ron, do you have a link to that information about T-Rex's?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Mucus, [Laugh]
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
quote:
Last week, would you have thought it was outrageous and wrong for someone to claim that some religious people think that meteors might hit the US if it legalizes gay marraige?
No, because you can find someone who believes just about any kind of crazy thing.

The difference between your statement and Darth's was the generalization. Your says "some", and that's probably true. Darth's said "religious people" or whatever, which was meant to apply to all or at least a strong majority, and it wasn't true.

That's the difference.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
In all the examples I can think of, I think that would be a good result, but I fully recognize that others will strongly disagree with me. I was wondering if there might be an example where I could agree it was a bad result. The ones I have in mind, with sound-bite rationale:


SSM and other protections based on sexual orientation - I think they'd be a net benefit to the nation.
Abortion - I think the right to have one should be limited by viability of handing off the fetus to another caretaker; this is not a religiously founded point of view.
Drugs - I think we should legalize most of them, and anti-drug sentiment seems a bit stronger among the religious.
War, taxes, almost everything else: Absolutely must have secular justification

Since I already know people won't agree with the first three, I wonder if religious people think I'm right about war and taxes, and what other examples they can think of where religiously founded concerns should be recognized by the government, rather than being ignored.

I'd think education is a particularly tricky issue where religious concerns can't fairly be ignored. Children learn a lot about right and wrong from school, as well as a great deal about how to view the world. An atheist-only approach to this would leave kids with an approach to viewing the world and morality that does not include religion. This would conflict directly with how religious parents want their kids to be raised, and what the kids are hearing outside school. Inevitably this undermines the credibility of the school in both the parent's and the child's minds, or potentially undermines the credibility of the parent in the child's mind, on those issues. That's going to make teaching moral reasoning very difficult, among other things.

More generally, to an atheist I'm sure a government that acts as if it were atheist seems to make more sense. But consider how the religious public responds to that. If the people are religious and the government is atheist, then that's going to place the people in a war with the government over religious issues. That's almost certainly going to break down trust in the government. It's going to cause many religious people to reject the government, or at least the concept of Separation of Church and State, to some degree or another. And it's going to promote extremism and ideas like "we need to make America an officially Christian nation". So, even if you think atheism is the way to go on every issue, I think you'd still need to recognize that not assuming atheism is better, if only because otherwise the largely religious majority is not going to have reason to accept the wall between church and state - and eventually it may get torn down.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
Hmm, yes I can see public education as one tricky area. You wouldn't want teachers actually teaching that atheism is correct, which is presumably what would happen if all governmental agencies acted as if atheism is correct. There probably is a difference, there, between acting in a neutral secularist fashion and an atheist fashion. I think that's a good example.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Hmm, yes I can see public education as one tricky area. You wouldn't want teachers actually teaching that atheism is correct, which is presumably what would happen if all governmental agencies acted as if atheism is correct. There probably is a difference, there, between acting in a neutral secularist fashion and an atheist fashion. I think that's a good example.

Tres has yet to say plainly "I think that schools should teach that drinking poison will kill you, even if some families for religious reasons believe otherwise". It's just too atheist for him.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
School should avoid the topic as much as possible. If it DOES come up, "Some people believe and some don't" should be a sufficient answer.

Science text books should teach science, not religion.

Government should be completely neutral on religion. Every law should have strictly secular rational in order to avoid conflicts between the religions or conflicts between religions and atheists.

It's simple really.. you know.. until people get involved...
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Hmm, yes I can see public education as one tricky area. You wouldn't want teachers actually teaching that atheism is correct, which is presumably what would happen if all governmental agencies acted as if atheism is correct. There probably is a difference, there, between acting in a neutral secularist fashion and an atheist fashion. I think that's a good example.

Tres has yet to say plainly "I think that schools should teach that drinking poison will kill you, even if some families for religious reasons believe otherwise". It's just too atheist for him.
Eh, find a more subtle gotcha. I'm going to assume that everybody I know is reasonable enough to believe that teaching poison will kill you is a good idea, unless they actually explicitly say otherwise. No need to try to make them say so plainly.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
I think that schools should teach that drinking poison will kill you, even if some families for religious reasons believe otherwise.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 7625) on :
 
Me too! Let's take a poll. This is an important question, to know who can get behind such a controversial position statement.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
I think that schools should teach that drinking poison will kill you, even if some families for religious reasons believe otherwise.

We had pages of discussion on the point, why did it take you so much prodding to make a simple statement like that?

But it's good that you are now on record as beliving that schools should teach that some religious beliefs are false.

Of course, it's easy to say this in the abstract, but aren't you also on record as saying that everyone must use their own personal judgment when deciding if religious beliefs trump reason and evidence?

It's nice to say that schools should teach what reason and evidence show, but what about the teachers whose personal judgement tells them that this is one of thsoe times when religious beliefs trump the reason and evidence?
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
It's nice to say that schools should teach what reason and evidence show, but what about the teachers whose personal judgement tells them that this is one of thsoe times when religious beliefs trump the reason and evidence?

In the 1800s, Linnean concepts of scientific racism claimed that blacks were inherently inferior. It was largely due to the to teachers refusing to teach what "reason and evidence showed" that the abolition movement took hold. Was that wrong of the schools, in your opinion?
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
" It was largely due to the to teachers refusing to teach what "reason and evidence showed" that the abolition movement took hold."

When the abolition movement took hold, in like the 1840's if not earlier, how many schools were public? And what percentage of those schools were teaching that blacks were inherently inferior? How are you making the determination that abolition was the result of teaching racism?
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Scott R, you asked for a link for info regarding the soft tissue found in T-Rex bones. Here is one of many: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/03/0324_050324_trexsofttissue.html

You can come up with a long list (17,000 hits) by entering into the Yahoo search engine: "T-Rex dinosaur soft tissue found in bones" (Leave out the quote marks)

Truly committed devotees of Evolutionism of course are trying to come up with all kinds of convoluted ways to explain away the implications of soft tissue surviving in dinosaur bones, from a species claimed to be exinct for 65 million years or more.

It seems to me that the most reasonable conclusion is that the T-Rex died only a few hundred years ago, maybe a thousand or so. Sooner or later, in some remote location on earth, someone is going to come across a still-living dinosaur. This should surprise no one. After all, living specimens of Coelecanths were found only a few decades ago, proving that they did not become extinct 80 million years ago (or more), as had been confidently claimed by evolutionists.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
In the 1800s, Linnean concepts of scientific racism claimed that blacks were inherently inferior. It was largely due to the to teachers refusing to teach what "reason and evidence showed" that the abolition movement took hold. Was that wrong of the schools, in your opinion?

Teachers should teach what the evidence shows, according to what the best-educated experts in the field believe are the best evidecned and soundest conclusions.

Of course there will be the occasional error, knowledge is human endeavor, and humans make mistakes. But 999 times out of a thousand, going with the evidence and experts is the right thing.

What do you suggest...that teachers should ignore the experts when they find the expert conclusion distasteful? Do you really think that on the whole, that's going to yield a more factual education than sticking to the evidence and expert consensus?
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Teachers had not then bought into the evolution dogma hook, line and sinker. They still believed that the Biblical concept that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve was the truth, and therefore was true science.

Had everyone believed in evolution then as devotedly as they do now, there never would have been an Abolitionist Movement. Just consider the original title of Charles Darwin's seminal book: The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. The obvious implication, of course, is that some races of humans should be expected to be superior to others, and the way that we prove we are superior is by subjugating those races we think are inferior.

But the final, absolute truth is that in fact we are all children of Adam and Eve.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
What do you suggest...that teachers should ignore the experts when they find the expert conclusion distasteful? Do you really think that on the whole, that's going to yield a more factual education than sticking to the evidence and expert consensus?

I think you're presenting a false dichotomy. It's not necessary to either exclude all non-scientific opinions or allow whatever crazy idea any teacher decides to teach. There's room for moderation and compromise worked out through local school boards, elections, courts, civil society, and more. The richness of individual experience, coupled with efficient institutions for drawing on it, is a better way to guide educational policy than enforcing rigid hewing to any ideological line.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
We had pages of discussion on the point, why did it take you so much prodding to make a simple statement like that?
I made statements like that multiples times in the discussion you are talking about. For instance, on Feb. 14th you said "And if my kid gets your kid to drink Draino, while the teacher watches, the teacher is right to stand by and do nothing, because my kid's convinced your kid that the religious evidence trumps the scientific evidence, and the teacher has to respect that choice?" to which I replied "No, again I didn't say that either." I thought that was a fairly clear and direct response.

The reason it went on for multiple pages is because you would not accept my response, and insisted that what I really meant was something that I didn't think I meant.

quote:
Of course, it's easy to say this in the abstract, but aren't you also on record as saying that everyone must use their own personal judgment when deciding if religious beliefs trump reason and evidence?

It's nice to say that schools should teach what reason and evidence show, but what about the teachers whose personal judgement tells them that this is one of thsoe times when religious beliefs trump the reason and evidence?

I am on record saying that religion is based on reason and evidence. I am also on record saying that religious evidence could sometimes trump scientific evidence, and that people use their personal judgement to decide when that is the case. I'll now add to the record that I think schools can, should, and certainly do place some limitations on how far the school's employees can go in teaching what they personally believe to be true when that contradicts what the school considers true. If the teacher personally judges that poison is a healthy thing to drink, and the school decides teaching that is dangerously counterproductive for the students (which I'd hope it would), the school should not allow it.

[ May 29, 2009, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
[qb]What do you suggest...that teachers should ignore the experts when they find the expert conclusion distasteful? Do you really think that on the whole, that's going to yield a more factual education than sticking to the evidence and expert consensus?

I think you're presenting a false dichotomy. It's not necessary to either exclude all non-scientific opinions or allow whatever crazy idea any teacher decides to teach.
We're talking about religion. There's no limit to how unfounded and illogical people will get.

The reason I picked snake-handlers is that there are a heck of a lot of Americans who believe it. You think it's crazy, and I agree. But they don't. They think a lot of what I beleive is crazy. Why is one person's personal opinion of crazy superior to anothers?

quote:
There's room for moderation and compromise worked out through local school boards, elections, courts, civil society, and more.
Without a secular underpinning, that's just majority rules. If the snake-handlers outnumber the non-snake handlers, they win. Just like when Creationists outnumber other people, evolution gets deeply distorted, or dropped.

quote:
The richness of individual experience, coupled with efficient institutions for drawing on it, is a better way to guide educational policy than enforcing rigid hewing to any ideological line.
If you think that sticking to reason and evidence is just one of many ideological lines, then I can't convince you otherwise.
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
quote:
We're talking about religion. There's no limit to how unfounded and illogical people will get.
[Roll Eyes] This is an example of the crappy, unpleasant tone on this board nowadays, that you wrote something so nasty without blinking an eye.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
I think a valid criticism of religious thinking, Katie, is that there is literally no way to put any limit on how unfounded or illogical someone might get when using a religious epistemology. That there's no possible external check on a given person's religious rationalizations is -- I think -- one of the biggest dangers. If somebody thinks God wants him to toss around venomous snakes, that's what he thinks; it's not like you can convince him otherwise.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
kath: do you deny that statement? Do you really think that religion never crosses the line?
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
If the first sentence didn't precede the second sentence, I'd have no problem.

Since it did, it was bigoted and nasty. Which is, sadly, about par for the thread.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
'k, you're calling it nasty and bigoted again... not really making an argument against what Tom said... Do you have anything to add or are you just going to cry?

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b2/DavionShores/help_oppressed.gif
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
I don't think it's necessarily bigoted or nasty to observe that religion specifically provides for no limits on otherwise illogical behavior.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
I dunno. It certainly seems that at least certain religions require certain lower bounds on illogical behaviour.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Again, you are assuming that logic and reason are the only tools available. Judgement is more than that. Because things are subjective doesn't make them absolutely subjective.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Sorry Boots, but when you're talking about something being "illogical" then logic and reason ARE the only tools available.

And religion DOES step off the deep end. A LOT.

http://www.nocaptionneeded.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/wtc-9-11.jpg
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
I think a valid criticism of religious thinking, Katie, is that there is literally no way to put any limit on how unfounded or illogical someone might get when using a religious epistemology.
The same is just as true for nonreligious thinking, or ANY type of thinking. It's a feature of humans in general, not of religion, that people often are extremely illogical and unreasonable.

quote:
That there's no possible external check on a given person's religious rationalizations is -- I think -- one of the biggest dangers. If somebody thinks God wants him to toss around venomous snakes, that's what he thinks; it's not like you can convince him otherwise.
This, on the other hand, is entirely false. It's common for people to change their mind on religious issues because of "external checks". For instance, if the Pope declares X, it is likely that many catholics will change their mind to believe X in response to that external piece of evidence, if they didn't believe X beforehand. Another common one is people who change their view of God after a loved one died. Or people who study the Bible and discover passages that alter their understanding. I'd wager that almost all religious people have changed their minds many times on many issues after being convinced by evidence that came from outside themselves.

It is true that some people aren't willing to change their mind in response to any amount of evidence on certain topics, but that is just as true for nonreligious topics as it is for religious topics. Even a casual look at arguments on Hatrack should prove that. For instance, you can probably offer me as much evidence as you'd like that hockey is a superior sport to basketball, and no matter how good your evidence is I suspect I'll still claim basketball is better.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Honestly, there is lots and lots of room between being completely logical and loony.

We don't have to live like androids processing data in order to avoid craziness.
 
Posted by katharina (Member # 827) on :
 
Am I just going to cry??

Is that seriously your answer to trying to prove you aren't nasty and bigoted? What is wrong with you?

Human beings are illogical all the time. I'm too tired, too lazy, and too jaded to try once again to explain religion to close-minded people who refuse to bother thinking anything but the absolute worst, but: you are wrong. As usual. As you should know by now.
 
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Sorry Boots, but when you're talking about something being "illogical" then logic and reason ARE the only tools available.

And religion DOES step off the deep end. A LOT.

http://www.nocaptionneeded.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/wtc-9-11.jpg

How is this whole argument different than accusing all of Islam of carrying out 9/11? Religion didn't step off the deep end. Some crazy people using their religion as their excuse did. I thought it had been fairly well established, at least with reasonable people, that Islam doesn't teach these kinds of actions.

Anything can be taken to extremes. Think of communist Russia.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
quote:
We're talking about religion. There's no limit to how unfounded and illogical people will get.
[Roll Eyes] This is an example of the crappy, unpleasant tone on this board nowadays, that you wrote something so nasty without blinking an eye.
Well, pretty much anything in the hands of humans can be turned to awful ends. Is it nasty to point that out?

Perhaps I'm tired of people insisting that religion is nothing but sunshine and roses.

Everyone is happy to deplore Ron for claiming that God would deliver collective punishment on the US for certain behavior, and to say "well, my God wouldn't do that." Well, collective punishment for moral failing is what the God of the Bible did. The Fall, the Flood, the Plagues, Sodom and Gomorrah, the fall of the two kingdoms.

No one wants to even mention the fact that the very scriptures which most of the religious believers reading believe in, support his argument. It's inconvenient, and unpleasant. And anyone who points it out gets categorized as insulting.

Sorry, but no one gets to pick and choose who is using religion correctly, and who isn't. People feeding the hungry at soup kitchens because of the Gospels are using their religon, and so are people blowing up infidels.

Ignoring the unpleasant outcomes of religous belief helps no one. They have to be faced, and if religious people themselves refuse to, as the response on this boards suggests, then the non-religious will.

And they will be nastier about it.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
No one has suggested that religion is all sunshine and roses. Where on earth did you get that?

For about the 9 billionth time. Not all Christians are biblical literalists. Why, for heaven's sake do all atheists seem to be?

Of course, we can use our judgement to "pick and choose" who is using religion correctly and who isn't. Why not?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Everyone is happy to deplore Ron for claiming that God would deliver collective punishment on the US for certain behavior, and to say "well, my God wouldn't do that." Well, collective punishment for moral failing is what the God of the Bible did. The Fall, the Flood, the Plagues, Sodom and Gomorrah, the fall of the two kingdoms.
I'll put it even more simply than boots did, swbarnes: guess how many folks participating at Hatrack believe the KJV Bible is the literal, perfectly transcribed word of God?

We've got Ron (I think), so that's one.

Anyone else? swbarnes, can you think of anyone else?

quote:
Why, for heaven's sake do all atheists seem to be?

For some folks, the answer is pretty simple: because it's rhetorically convenient to an argument.

So perhaps the reason you're not making much headway in your arguments, swbarnes, isn't because religious folks are so blinded by superstition, denial, and idiocy that they can't hear you. Maybe it's because some of your initial premises are just completely off-base.
 
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
 
quote:

Ignoring the unpleasant outcomes of religous belief helps no one. They have to be faced, and if religious people themselves refuse to, as the response on this boards suggests, then the non-religious will.

And they will be nastier about it.

Why? And what excuse do they have?
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Sorry Boots, but when you're talking about something being "illogical" then logic and reason ARE the only tools available.

And religion DOES step off the deep end. A LOT.

http://www.nocaptionneeded.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/wtc-9-11.jpg

Behold the unrestrained glory of science, the God of logic and rationality.

Come on Pixiest, I understand you're miffed at the religious organizations that stood in the way of a cause you feel is just, and for reasons you think are specious, but if you think all religion has is crazy ideas and nothing good that ought to be shared around, that's a POV I don't think stands to reason.

I wish I could sit down and hammer out a religious rationale, and perhaps I should have refrained from posting until I was, but I've got to go, I'll probably try later.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
[QB] No one has suggested that religion is all sunshine and roses. Where on earth did you think that?

Because I read things like the post one or two up, where the poster says "Oh that evil things perpetrated by those religious people, who said they did what they did for religious reasons, that's not really religion". Everyone is keen to say that religion inspires good, but when something bad happens, they say that's not really religion. Religion never fails, it is only failed.

quote:
For about the 9 billionth time. Not all Christians are biblical literalists.
I never, absolutely never said, or even implied that I think this is the case.

But lots of Chritians are, and they are every bit as religious and Christian as you, yes, even when they use their religous belief towards purposes you wish they didn't.

quote:
Of course, we can use our judgement to "pick and choose" who is using religion correctly and who isn't. Why not?
When people tell you that you aren't really a Catholic, because you don't believe every word out of the Pope's mouth, what is your response?

Perhaps you embrace a far larger definition of Catholicism, one that isn't as strict as some people follow? And that just because you don't meet their standard doesn't mean that you aren't Catholic?
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Blackblade: The atomic bomb ended the most bloody war in human history. It hasn't been used in anger for 64 years. Sounds pretty good to me.

There is good in religion. But to get upset when someone says that it can go crazy (as Kath did and is still doing) is to overlook so many of the atrocities committed by the religious even excluding their on going apartheid aimed at gay people.

Robots: Socialism (be it national socialism or soviet socialism) is another, but related issue. Where as religion sacrifices the individual to god, socialism sacrifices the individual to the state. One of the reasons the Soviets tried to stamp out Religion was because they didn't want the competition. No Other Gods Before The State type thinking.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
[QB] No one has suggested that religion is all sunshine and roses. Where on earth did you think that?

Because I read things like the post one or two up, where the poster says "Oh that evil things perpetrated by those religious people, who said they did what they did for religious reasons, that's not really religion". Everyone is keen to say that religion inspires good, but when something bad happens, they say that's not really religion. Religion never fails, it is only failed.

quote:
For about the 9 billionth time. Not all Christians are biblical literalists.
I never, absolutely never said, or even implied that I think this is the case.

But lots of Chritians are, and they are every bit as religious and Christian as you, yes, even when they use their religous belief towards purposes you wish they didn't.

quote:
Of course, we can use our judgement to "pick and choose" who is using religion correctly and who isn't. Why not?
When people tell you that you aren't really a Catholic, because you don't believe every word out of the Pope's mouth, what is your response?

Perhaps you embrace a far larger definition of Catholicism, one that isn't as strict as some people follow? And that just because you don't meet their standard doesn't mean that you aren't Catholic?

I use reason and some knowledge of Catholic doctrine to show them that they misunderstand the concept of papal infallibility. (You would also be hard pressed to find a Catholic who did believe every word out of the Pope's mouth.

Just because people (and not just religious people, BTW) don't use logic exclusively to make their judgements doesn't mean we can't use it at all.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
[QB] No one has suggested that religion is all sunshine and roses. Where on earth did you think that?

Because I read things like the post one or two up, where the poster says "Oh that evil things perpetrated by those religious people, who said they did what they did for religious reasons, that's not really religion". Everyone is keen to say that religion inspires good, but when something bad happens, they say that's not really religion. Religion never fails, it is only failed.

quote:
For about the 9 billionth time. Not all Christians are biblical literalists.
I never, absolutely never said, or even implied that I think this is the case.

But lots of Chritians are, and they are every bit as religious and Christian as you, yes, even when they use their religous belief towards purposes you wish they didn't.

quote:
Of course, we can use our judgement to "pick and choose" who is using religion correctly and who isn't. Why not?
When people tell you that you aren't really a Catholic, because you don't believe every word out of the Pope's mouth, what is your response?

Perhaps you embrace a far larger definition of Catholicism, one that isn't as strict as some people follow? And that just because you don't meet their standard doesn't mean that you aren't Catholic?

I use reason and some knowledge of Catholic doctrine to show them that they misunderstand the concept of papal infallibility. (You would also be hard pressed to find a Catholic who did believe every word out of the Pope's mouth.)

Just because people (and not just religious people, BTW) don't use logic exclusively to make their judgements doesn't mean we can't use it at all.

[ May 29, 2009, 04:28 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]
 
Posted by King of Men (Member # 6684) on :
 
Garbage in, garbage out. If you insist on arriving at premises by irrational means, then even the best possible logic will give you irrational conclusions.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
I'd wager that almost all religious people have changed their minds many times on many issues after being convinced by evidence that came from outside themselves.
We've discussed before the flaws in this definition of the word "evidence." [Smile]
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
[QB]
quote:
Everyone is happy to deplore Ron for claiming that God would deliver collective punishment on the US for certain behavior, and to say "well, my God wouldn't do that." Well, collective punishment for moral failing is what the God of the Bible did. The Fall, the Flood, the Plagues, Sodom and Gomorrah, the fall of the two kingdoms.
I'll put it even more simply than boots did, swbarnes: guess how many folks participating at Hatrack believe the KJV Bible is the literal, perfectly transcribed word of God?
Probably very few. But why is that relevant to anything I said? I didn't say it was a popular argument here. But lots of people in the country, in the world do hold it. And he has Biblical support for it, a point that no one here, not even the people who believe, in one way or another, in the overall validity of the Bible as a point of faith has cared to address. Even "I believe all those parts of the Bible are flat out false" would be dealing with it, but no one has even the courage to say that.

quote:
For some folks, the answer is pretty simple: because it's rhetorically convenient to an argument.
I will donate $100 to whatever charity you name if you can come up with one clear quote of me saying that I think that all Christians are biblical literalists.

If you can't, or won't, I'll kindly ask you to retract the claim, or send $100 to the NCSE.

quote:
Maybe it's because some of your initial premises are just completely off-base.
Which premise?

That some Christians are biblical literalists? That some religious people use their religious beliefs to stupid and harmful ends?

If some super conservative Catholic was telling all the Catholics on the board that they weren't really Catholic, because they were doing Catholicism wrong, I don't think the board would be forgiving. If someone told all the Christians on the board that they weren't really Christians, because what they were doing wasn't really Christianity, it was just something they made up for their own purposes, the board wouldn't just let that go either.

But when some posters label whole swaths of people and religious belief as "not really religion", because they find the beliefs distasteful, everyone seems to think that's just fine. Apparently, the fact that only one person posting on the board who fits that description makes it okay.

Lots of people do really stupid and harmful things because of religion, and playing word games by defining that stuff as not being religious, or not being what religion is 'supposed' to be is not going to change that.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
We've discussed before the flaws in this definition of the word "evidence."
We've discussed how you'd prefer to only count certain types of evidence as evidence so you can say that 90% of the world is irrationally pulling religion out of thin air. [Smile]

Regardless of whatever words or definitions you'd prefer to use to say it, the fact still remains that religious people frequently change their mind on religious issues, and are often convinced to do so by something other than personal whim - something like a life event, a piece of scripture, a sermon, an experience, etc. So it is plainly false to say religious people can't be convinced by anything.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
So it is plainly false to say religious people can't be convinced by anything.
Which is why I didn't say that.
I said that there was nothing out there to prevent people using a religious epistemology from being irrational.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Swbarnes, do you think that I haven't criticized Ron for his interpretation of the Bible? I admit, I don't do it everytime, because what would be the point?* But I certaionly have done.

What exactly are you calling "biblical support" when you say that Ron has it? Is that what you are saying. Honestly, you seem to be swinging rather wildly and I'm not sure what you are looking for. Clarification would be helpful.

*And I do have other things to do. And at some point it would probably violate the TOS.
 
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :
 
Actually every time someone points out how different their religious views are than someone else it just reinforces the fact that the government needs to remain secular. Since people's religious views vary *wildly* any religious interference in government will step on many toes.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
Rakeesh, you said:
quote:
"how many folks participating at Hatrack believe the KJV Bible is the literal, perfectly transcribed word of God?

We've got Ron (I think), so that's one."

I have said many times that I do not believe in verbal inspiration of the Bible, where every word is considered to be straight from God. I also have said that I do not believe in verbal inspiration even in the original language--because the scribes for over a thousand years before the time of Christ regularly and of necessity had to update the vocabulary to retain the original meanings as best they understood them, as many words changed in their meanings.

But this does not mean that the Bible cannot still serve as a reliable source of the highest authority in all the subjects it covers, when care is taken with sound scholarship, comparing passages that speak on the same subject, etc. It is God who directly inspired the Bible writers, and that makes it the best source of information we could possibly have. Want to know about the origin of life on earth? Genesis gives the testimony of the Creator Himself. Want to know about law and divine justice? Read the witness of the Lawgiver. Want to know what goodness and love really are? Read the definitions and examples given in the Bible of what constitutes true love and true goodness.

The speculations of human scientists can be interesting, but not supremely authoritative--especially when they have an obvious agenda to exclude God from any of their considerations.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 10495) on :
 
Yeah, those goofy Catholic and Mormon scientists that subscribe evolutionary theory because of their obvious agenda to exclude God...
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Swbarnes, do you think that I haven't criticized Ron for his interpretation of the Bible? I admit, I don't do it everytime, because what would be the point?* But I certaionly have done.

This isn't a matter of his being right or wrong on this point or that. Do you think that he's not really a Christian because he interprets the Bible differently from you?

I imagine not, but how is this different from someone saying of a whole class of believers "Those guys are too crazy. What they are doing, that's not real religion. Real religion is more like how I believe"?

I think if someone told you that they were a 'better' Catholic than you are, because they totally accept every papal statement about sexuality, and you don't, you would think that it was obnoxious for someone to judge you like that at all, or you would think that judging by papal statments was a silly criteron. You'd probably want to be judged by being an active part of your church community, or by how much you've let the Gospels positively influence your life, and the lives around you. That's probbaly closer to how you might gauge a "good" Catholic

Or you'd think that the whole idea of trying to figure out which Catholic is 'better' than others was stupid.

But when it comes to the 'crazy' religious beliefs of others, you had no problem judging their religions as 'worse' than yours, because yours doesn't obviously conflict with science, and theirs does. Even though lots and lots of people think that's as stupid a way of judging religions as is judging Catholics by adherance to the pope.

And look at the post I refered to. The poster says flat out says "9-11 wasn't about religion, they were just crazy". Well, the one absolutely does not preclude the other. But a whole lot of people posting seem to think otherwise.

quote:
What exactly are you calling "biblical support" when you say that Ron has it?
I'm saying everyone holding a Bible can see that the God of the Bible delivered collective judgment on whole peoples because of moral lapses.

Yes, of course, there's all the nice stuff too, about how forgiving God is, but that doesn't cancel out the ugly stuff.

Read the Catholic Encyclopedia on the plagues. They claim that the plagues happened as described, even though they are not literalists. I'm not claiming that every single Catholic accepts that source as true, but it's fair to say that a whole lot of them do.

Obviously, this isn't a problem if you say "I don't care what the Bible says, it's just a book", but that's a tough argument for a Christian to make. Doable, but difficult. Is it really a false premise to start with the assumption that people who call themselves Christian believe in God as described in the Bible?

But to claim that the God of the Bible would never do this...well, the Bible clearly says otherwise.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:

But to claim that the God of the Bible would never do this...well, the Bible clearly says otherwise.

Arrrrgghhh! Only if you interpret the Bible literally! If you think that the Bible says anything "clearly" it is almost always a good idea to think again. It is a collection of writings that need to be understood in context. Yes, I believe that the writings are inspired. They are records of people and their relationship with God. But they aren't newspapers or modern history books. It is the written record of oral traditions and stories.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
Yeah, those goofy Catholic and Mormon scientists that subscribe evolutionary theory because of their obvious agenda to exclude God...

I'm not even sure how that works overseas. Do Chinese scientists have an agenda to ascribe to evolutionary theory to exclude Buddha/Taoism? But does Buddhism/Taoism even care about evolution? Or is evolution only a God-seeking weapon of mass destruction? I'm so confused.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
There are, of course, many scientists with church affiliations who are intimidated by the mainstream majority in the science professions. The pressure is really on them, because they can't compete for grants if anyone even suspects they might doubt evolution. So what they do is try to compartmentalize, and say they keep their religious beliefs separate from their scientific beliefs. I believe this deliberate schizophrenia is unhealthy spiritually as well as mentally, and it will cripple them as worshippers of God as well as in their careers in science.

There are hundreds of scientists who are unabashedly creationists. The most responsible and credible representative of them that I have found is the Creation Research Society. Here is a link to their peer-reviewed quarterly in which they take on the latest arguments of evolutionists and provide research data and field evidence against them: http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq.html

They also publish a monthly science digest-style publication, Creation Matters. Link: http://www.creationresearch.org/matters.html

I won't even comment on what the Pope said about evolution, because I am a Protestant, so he is not my problem.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
swbarnes,

quote:
Probably very few. But why is that relevant to anything I said? I didn't say it was a popular argument here. But lots of people in the country, in the world do hold it. And he has Biblical support for it, a point that no one here, not even the people who believe, in one way or another, in the overall validity of the Bible as a point of faith has cared to address. Even "I believe all those parts of the Bible are flat out false" would be dealing with it, but no one has even the courage to say that.
Well, since you're talking about religious matters with (at, really) religious folks here on Hatrack...of course it's relevant! I'm baffled you'd even think otherwise.

And are you telling me no one has had the 'courage' to tell Ron he's wrong about his interpretation of the Bible? It's happened so often that at this point that's taken as a given by pretty much every religious person who posts on Hatrack.

So your oblique accusation of cowardice is absurd, too.

quote:
I will donate $100 to whatever charity you name if you can come up with one clear quote of me saying that I think that all Christians are biblical literalists.

If you can't, or won't, I'll kindly ask you to retract the claim, or send $100 to the NCSE.

What, don't I even get a chance to agree with your bet before I'm expected to pay up? That certainly fits your rhetorical style in this discussion:)

As for where you've done it, I didn't say you said all Christians were biblical literalists. I said that you're talking about biblical literalists to a group who, overwhelmingly, aren't literalists.

quote:
Lots of people do really stupid and harmful things because of religion, and playing word games by defining that stuff as not being religious, or not being what religion is 'supposed' to be is not going to change that.
Who is doing that? That's the question people have been asking you. Point to someone, then point to a specific statement they've made, or even a thread in which they've made it.

Your chief tactic in this discussion has been to angrily argue against beliefs that people around here don't hold, and demand they argue against those beliefs alongside you, or else be cowards or hypocrites or dodgers or something.

It's very irritating.

------

Ron, you are saying that you believe in a conspiracy. A conspiracy of the overwhelming majority of scientists on the planet and throughout history for that matter are participating, knowingly or unknowingly, in a scheme against religious folks and religious scientists.
 
Posted by Hedwig (Member # 2315) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by swbarnes2:
...I think that all Christians are biblical literalists.



 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Blackblade: The atomic bomb ended the most bloody war in human history. It hasn't been used in anger for 64 years. Sounds pretty good to me.

There is good in religion. But to get upset when someone says that it can go crazy (as Kath did and is still doing) is to overlook so many of the atrocities committed by the religious even excluding their on going apartheid aimed at gay people.

We've had atomic weapons 70 years. Historically speaking that's very little time. And it hasn't been just one time and that's it. Modern research about the Cuban Missile Crisis is showing that perhaps it was sheer luck we did not have a nuclear exchange. North Korea is acting absolutely crazy, Iran is promising to eradicate Israel once it gets weapons grade plutonium. Nuclear attacks on China very nearly took place during the Korean conflict.

I agree that the religious need to own up to the dangers of blind faith and unquestioning obedience. Many people make the statement however that any good that is found in religion can be isolated from religion, and that those who promise to follow the example of the greatest man I think in history, don't actually become better people in any sense of the phrase.

It's like arguing that somebody who dedicates their life to learning how to play a musical instrument do not actually become any better at playing it.
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
"Many people make the statement however that any good that is found in religion can be isolated from religion, and that those who promise to follow the example of the greatest man I think in history, don't actually become better people in any sense of the phrase.

It's like arguing that somebody who dedicates their life to learning how to play a musical instrument do not actually become any better at playing it. "

That's what the evidence supports, so I'm not sure why we shouldn't argue it. Problem is that along with following the example of a pretty decent guy, you get the baggage of illogical thought that comes with it, an us v them propoganda machine, fear based motivation, etc.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
We've had atomic weapons 70 years. Historically speaking that's very little time.
I'm not sure where you're going with the nuclear weapon argument. I mean, at some point someone discovered the long, heavy stick, and used the long, heavy stick to kill someone else. Are you attempting to blame that on science somehow, to argue that scientific thinking was the cause of the killing rather than the source for the method by which it was achieved?

I mean, I suppose you can argue that scientific thinking -- or, more correctly, faux-science -- is to blame for all kinds of horrible things; Social Darwinism wasn't technically scientific, but it hid behind the use of pseudoscience as a justification. And it's still conceivably possible that "science" might "prove" the advantage of utilitarian social policies that would be considered unthinkable under other approaches. To my mind, that's a slightly more compelling counter-argument than the "Well, scientists developed this thing that could theoretically kill a bunch of people."
 
Posted by Christine (Member # 8594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

I agree that the religious need to own up to the dangers of blind faith and unquestioning obedience. Many people make the statement however that any good that is found in religion can be isolated from religion, and that those who promise to follow the example of the greatest man I think in history, don't actually become better people in any sense of the phrase.

It's like arguing that somebody who dedicates their life to learning how to play a musical instrument do not actually become any better at playing it.

I'm not sure I buy this analogy. I actually read it a couple of times before I was sure which side you were arguing for -- because following Jesus is not like dedicating one's life to playing music. It's more like having a musical hero to help motivate your dedication...one day I want to play/compose just as well as Mozart. But you can still dedicate your life to music and I think people can dedicate their lives to being good people without using Jesus as their role model.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
"Many people make the statement however that any good that is found in religion can be isolated from religion, and that those who promise to follow the example of the greatest man I think in history, don't actually become better people in any sense of the phrase.

It's like arguing that somebody who dedicates their life to learning how to play a musical instrument do not actually become any better at playing it. "

That's what the evidence supports, so I'm not sure why we shouldn't argue it.

What evidence?

quote:
I actually read it a couple of times before I was sure which side you were arguing for -- because following Jesus is not like dedicating one's life to playing music. It's more like having a musical hero to help motivate your dedication...one day I want to play/compose just as well as Mozart. But you can still dedicate your life to music and I think people can dedicate their lives to being good people without using Jesus as their role model.
Actually, that's exactly right I think. That's why simply being religious, in belief, is not enough to make one a better person. It'd be akin to someone who has Mozart as their hero, but who never dedicates any time to music (like Mozart did) - such a person probably isn't going to become a better musician.

The religious people who become better people from their religion are probably not those who say they are Christian but then fail to act like Christ; it is those who actually do act like Christ.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
Tom: I am arguing against the spurious premise that religion is a ticking bomb and that science would never bite us back. Science is a wonderful fantastic thing, that I'd rather see the human race disappear than lose. Some people act like that if we just stick to science as a way to view the universe we can do no wrong. That any sort of blunder could be prevented if we just used better science. It sounds just like the religious who say, "Religion never does anything bad, those people just aren't religious enough."

Sciense is responsible for its' fruits, and nuclear weapons are one of those fruits. Yes it's human beings that decided to use the big stick to kill somebody, but that is one of the byproducts of the principle. Religion can create fanatics, science can create things humanity is not ready to heft, let alone wield.

If you believe human beings can be smart enough to use the miracles of science responsibly than I think it stands to reason that they can dedicate their lives to a religious cause greater than themselves, and perform admirably. I reflect on my life, and nearly all the good in it comes through my religion. I was taught to love my fellow man, to figure out my own opinions, to consult with God, to become the best possible version of myself. Could it have all been accomplished without any religion? Perhaps, but it didn't, my religion facilitated that process insofar as I adhered to its' principles.

Christine: If you strove to emulate Jesus as a whole, I don't care who you are, you would find the goodness inside yourself increase. Tresopax did a good job of encapsulating my argument.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Yes it's human beings that decided to use the big stick to kill somebody, but that is one of the byproducts of the principle.
Why? What inherent to science causes one human being to decide to use a nuclear bomb to kill other human beings?

Again, science gives you the method. It does not give you the decision.

quote:
If you believe human beings can be smart enough to use the miracles of science responsibly than I think it stands to reason that they can dedicate their lives to a religious cause greater than themselves, and perform admirably.
No, I'd disagree here. The logic is different. The danger of a religious principle in this case is that it's built on appeals to an unimpeachable authority. You might luck out and dedicate your life to a good cause -- or you might dedicate your life to a bad cause. Either way, there's no mechanism provided to allow you to reliably decide which is which.

But it's worth noting that this is to some extent a false dichotomy, because "science" doesn't address that question at all. You can say "God says I should do this," depending on your faith, because you might have a religious model in which God is an entity capable of intervening in that way. But "science" is not an entity; it is not a moral arbiter. "Science" will never tell you to do something; at best, it can tell you what is likely to happen when you do something. You still need another component -- a philosophy of some sort -- to determine which of the results predicted by science are the ones you prefer.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
That's what the evidence supports, so I'm not sure why we shouldn't argue it. Problem is that along with following the example of a pretty decent guy, you get the baggage of illogical thought that comes with it, an us v them propoganda machine, fear based motivation, etc.
Evidence, huh?

Isn't it well established that 'because I think so' isn't really evidence? [Smile]

Religious unquestionably enables 'illogical thinking'. I'm using the scare quotes because I think you have a different definition of that than I do. But here's the bogus part of your argument: plenty of people who don't embrace religion are highly illogical, irrational, and awful.

So I'm far from convinced that getting rid of religion through whatever means, be it persuasion or force, will make an appreciable dent in 'illogical thinking' in the world, any more than I'm convinced that if everyone was baptized tomorrow that would make everyone immediately happier.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Again, science gives you the method. It does not give you the decision.
What? Of course it does, Tom. You can't have the decision without the method. You can't have the decision to shoot someone without a gun. You can have the decision to kill someone without a gun, but that's a different thing.

quote:
quote:If you believe human beings can be smart enough to use the miracles of science responsibly than I think it stands to reason that they can dedicate their lives to a religious cause greater than themselves, and perform admirably.

No, I'd disagree here. The logic is different. The danger of a religious principle in this case is that it's built on appeals to an unimpeachable authority. You might luck out and dedicate your life to a good cause -- or you might dedicate your life to a bad cause. Either way, there's no mechanism provided to allow you to reliably decide which is which.

This is true in the abstract, but not actually true in practice. In pretty much every religion I've ever heard of, the 'unimpeachable authority' is actually quite specifically restricted in a variety of ways, by its own theology and doctrine.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
basic kierkegaardian themes: someone believes in God; is utterly positive of the existence of this God with utter lack of proof and would sooner die than go against this core philosophy. They simply cannot.

expanded theme: as a result of the mental habits which create utter positivity of the existence of God in the lack of any proof whatsoever, a person can craft an utter positivity in the notion that their belief is crafted upon evidence and/or reason, and are similarly unequipped to challenge this notion that they indeed have come to their faith based on evidence or reason. In a way which is curious due to their inability to understand why, they have crafted a new version of what constitutes evidence or reason. Through faith.

Man I should write this stuff down and do something with it.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Sciense is responsible for its' fruits, and nuclear weapons are one of those fruits.
That's like saying that the photoreceptors in my eyes are responsible for when I used a big heavy stick that they spotted to bash in the brains of my caveman brother.
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
"Religious unquestionably enables 'illogical thinking'. I'm using the scare quotes because I think you have a different definition of that than I do. But here's the bogus part of your argument: plenty of people who don't embrace religion are highly illogical, irrational, and awful. "

I'm not sure something can be a bogus part of my argument if I didn't make the argument.

Yes, non-religious people are often illogical, irrational, and awful. However, the entire foundation of religion is irrationality, and fuzzy thinking.

"Evidence, huh?

Isn't it well established that 'because I think so' isn't really evidence?"

Yup. Thats why I rely more on things such as the correlation between religious ferver of a population and higher crime rates for that population, in democratic nations. Or the correlation between religion and thinking torture is sometimes ok. Or, well, frankly, the correlation between religiosity and voting for proposition 8.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
I'm not sure something can be a bogus part of my argument if I didn't make the argument.

Yes, non-religious people are often illogical, irrational, and awful. However, the entire foundation of religion is irrationality, and fuzzy thinking.

Sure you do. You even go on to make it later in this very post I'm quoting, Paul.

Also, the 'entire foundation' of religion is not what you say it is. No matter how strongly you want it to be, in fact.

quote:

Yup. Thats why I rely more on things such as the correlation between religious ferver of a population and higher crime rates for that population, in democratic nations. Or the correlation between religion and thinking torture is sometimes ok. Or, well, frankly, the correlation between religiosity and voting for proposition 8.

Oh, really? Well, then. Even if I granted your premise - I don't, because hey, you're not even linking the dubious* studies you're referencing - I wonder what other things correlation means, then?

Watch out, minorities!

*Dubious in the sense that I very much doubt they indicate the things you suggest they indicate.
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
"Sure you do. You even go on to make it later in this very post I'm quoting, Paul."

No, I don't. Nowhere have I said that non-religious people do not engage in illogic, or irrationality, nor have I said they do not do awful things. You can try to pretend that's what I said, but that doesn't make it so.

"Also, the 'entire foundation' of religion is not what you say it is. No matter how strongly you want it to be, in fact."

The foundation of religion is a belief in and worship of the divine. We can dispute that if you'd like, but I think its a reasonable working definition of religion and it is how I am using the term here.

But the problem is, a belief in god is not rational. It can't be arrived at through sound logic with premises rooted in reality. Asserting otherwise doesn't make the problem go away.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Lisa, can you possibly accept the idea that God might have asked the Jews to regard keeping the Sabbath as a special covenant duty for them, without that excluding the fact that the Sabbath was intended as a memorial of Creation for everyone?

Fine. Go ahead and remember it. Be cognizant of it. But the observance of it was commanded only to us.

quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
The commandment begins with the words, "REMEMBER the Sabbath day, to KEEP it holy." (Exodus 20:8) That does not sound like something new that only then was being instituted.

Whyever not? In Deuteronomy, it says "Keep the Sabbath day". God commanded us a number of things to remember (to do) on Shabbat, and a number of things to keep (to avoid doing) on Shabbat. We do bring the day in and bring the day out over wine/grape juice. We do not do melacha. Just like God commanded.

Honestly, Ron, I'm a little curious to know what you do with "It is a sign between Me and the Children of Israel". Do you think God was kidding?

quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
The fact that the Sabbath was not only then being instituted is also born out by the fact that for many months prior to Sinai, manna only fell six days a week, and never on the Sabbath, and a double portion fell on the day before the Sabbath. See Ex. 16:22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30.

The Sabbath was given to us at Marah, as I've already mentioned to you. That was before Sinai. After the Exodus, but before Sinai. And just prior to the Manna starting to fall.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Lisa, do not the Jews wish for all humanity to worship God? How then can you object if others besides Jews honor His Sabbaths?

You need to worship God the way He commanded. Not the way you wish He had commanded.

You know the story of Nadab and Abihu? The two eldest children of Aaron? How they brought strange fire before God and got consumed by it? They weren't indulging in pagan rituals, Ron. They wanted to serve God. But they disregarded the rules God gave us for serving Him and chose to do it their own way. Take a lesson.
 
Posted by Armoth (Member # 4752) on :
 
I'm pretty sure we had the exact convo with Ron in another thread. He quoted the same verses to us - we read them in depth and showed them in context to be referring to a covenant between God and Israel.

Wanna read them as Verus Israel? Fine.

As for our desire for all of humanity to recognize God - we're into that - but not through the Sabbath. There are 7 commandments given to non-Jews, as we have discussed.

Sabbath was given as a reward to Israel for their specific task in this world. If you desire to keep the Sabbath so badly, conversion is always an option.

But I have to echo Lisa in my incredulity as to why you want to observe the Sabbath and to how vastly different your sabbath observance is from ours.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Paul,

quote:
No, I don't. Nowhere have I said that non-religious people do not engage in illogic, or irrationality, nor have I said they do not do awful things. You can try to pretend that's what I said, but that doesn't make it so.
You just said, like two posts ago, that the higher the degree of religion, the more crime there will be. I wasn't saying you were saying atheists don't do bad things. I was saying you were saying that we would do less bad things if we didn't have religion. Which unquestionably you are.

quote:
But the problem is, a belief in god is not rational. It can't be arrived at through sound logic with premises rooted in reality. Asserting otherwise doesn't make the problem go away.
Well, that's certainly not an argument I'm going to get in with you. It would be as futile as discussing nuances of Christianity with Ron Lambert. No nuance of meaning, no variation on definitions, is allowed with either of you. For you, words like 'logic' and 'rational' mean lots of things, but they also very specifically don't mean one thing: religious.

That's just not going to be a productive discussion. I'll just insist that I certainly know my own experiences better than you do.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
But the problem is, a belief in god is not rational. It can't be arrived at through sound logic with premises rooted in reality.
That could only be true if you start with the assumption that God doesn't exist, because if God does exist then there are plenty of potential premises rooted in reality that could logically lead one to a belief in God. Doesn't that make your argument rather circular, or at least mostly pointless when arguing with someone who obviously doesn't start with the assumption that God doesn't exist?

And in truth, I don't think your point is true even if God doesn't exist - I suspect some set of assumptions rooted in reality exists either way that would logically lead one to believe in God as long as no other mitigating assumptions were added.

[ May 31, 2009, 01:00 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
That could only be true if you start with the assumption that God doesn't exist
Or if you come to the understanding that no evidence for God exists.
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
"That's just not going to be a productive discussion. I'll just insist that I certainly know my own experiences better than you do. "

You know, Scott did this recently. "I arrived at a belief in god through rational processes," and then refused to discuss those processes. In hypothetical, he explained how someone COULD reach a belief in god through rational processes... but as it turned out, he was talking about reaching a belief in god through logical fallacies. This is my general experience.

I do not believe you reached a belief in god through rational processes. If you wish to discuss the processes you used to arrive at the conclusion, I'll listen with an open mind. But I also won't hold back from pointing out illogic in your reasoning.

" I wasn't saying you were saying atheists don't do bad things. I was saying you were saying that we would do less bad things if we didn't have religion. Which unquestionably you are."

I apologize. I misunderstood what you were saying when you said "But here's the bogus part of your argument: plenty of people who don't embrace religion are highly illogical, irrational, and awful.
"
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
"That could only be true if you start with the assumption that God doesn't exist, because if God does exist then there are plenty of potential premises rooted in reality that could logically lead one to a belief in God."

One should start with no assumptions about whether or not god exists. If one does, I do not believe that there is a reality based rational process that leads to a belief in god. No one has yet demonstrated one, at any rate. Which doesn't mean there couldn't be one. But a lot of people have tried and failed.
 
Posted by ClaudiaTherese (Member # 923) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
"That could only be true if you start with the assumption that God doesn't exist, because if God does exist then there are plenty of potential premises rooted in reality that could logically lead one to a belief in God."

One should start with no assumptions about whether or not god exists. If one does, I do not believe that there is a reality based rational process that leads to a belief in god. No one has yet demonstrated one, at any rate. Which doesn't mean there couldn't be one. But a lot of people have tried and failed.

[Added: I agree with you, Paul. In technical terms,] Starting by assuming the conclusion is true is the classic definition of "begging the question," making it not so much a logical argument as a simple assertion.

[edited out unnecessary digression]

FWIW, there are reams of academic resources on that fallacy already available online.

[ May 31, 2009, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
I'm not sure what you're trying to say in reference to my post, CT. I understand what begging the question is, and I don't think i'm asserting a process that includes it.

Ahhh. With your edit it makes more sense now!

[ May 31, 2009, 07:17 AM: Message edited by: Paul Goldner ]
 
Posted by ClaudiaTherese (Member # 923) on :
 
No, I am merely restating what you said in different terms. I am agreeing with you -- just furthering the conversation.

I couldn't who you were directly quoting, so I just quoted your full post for context when I elaborated.

---

Added: But given the full context of the discussion and my propensity to hives, I'll leave it at agreement with you and happily continue on with other things. [Wink]
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
"That's just not going to be a productive discussion. I'll just insist that I certainly know my own experiences better than you do. "

You know, Scott did this recently. "I arrived at a belief in god through rational processes," and then refused to discuss those processes.

Dude, just the watchmaker argument suffices as a rational argument for the existence of a Creator. Heck, it suffices as a rational argument for the irrationality of atheism.
 
Posted by MrSquicky (Member # 1802) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
If you insist on arriving at premises by irrational means

That doesn't make any sense. All fundamental premises are irrational.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
Not so. A is A is not irrational, and it's a fundamental premise.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
The watchmaker argument is at best a suggestion to someone predisposed. It is easy to find complex things that many people think are designed, but that are not designed. Thus the argument from analogy in the watchmaker argument is insufficiently supported to be convincing.
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
The watchmaker argument? Seriously?
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
Seriously. And Paul, you accept the watchmaker argument yourself all the time in your life. You just don't want to accept it in this one case.
 
Posted by Lisa (Member # 8384) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
The watchmaker argument is at best a suggestion to someone predisposed. It is easy to find complex things that many people think are designed, but that are not designed. Thus the argument from analogy in the watchmaker argument is insufficiently supported to be convincing.

Come on. Give me an example of something that looks designed and isn't.

Did you ever see 2001: A Space Odyssey? Cruddy movie, but what was interesting was the way people reacted to it.

Okay, we land on the moon, and what do we find? A big black monolith. No writing, no nothing. The only thing special about it is that it's a perfect rectangular prism.

But everyone just assumes that this means it's an artifact. And hell, of course it's an artifact. But why? I mean, the odds of a shape like that coming about by pure happenstance aren't that outrageous. Certainly not in comparison to an eyeball or a pocketwatch. But no one walked out of the movie saying, "I don't get it. Why did that monolith 'prove' that there was another intelligent race in the universe?" It was obvious.

You have to be strongly agenda driven to say otherwise.
 
Posted by MrSquicky (Member # 1802) on :
 
quote:
A is A is not irrational, and it's a fundamental premise.
Yes, it is irrational. There is no rational reason to believe it.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
One should start with no assumptions about whether or not god exists. If one does, I do not believe that there is a reality based rational process that leads to a belief in god. No one has yet demonstrated one, at any rate. Which doesn't mean there couldn't be one. But a lot of people have tried and failed.
If you don't start with any assumptions about God, it's pretty easy to come up with sets of assumptions that would logically lead one to a belief in God. Here's a simple example:

Premise 1: Joe heard God speak to him
Premise 2: When Joe hears something speak to him, it likely exists
Premise 3: If something likely exists, Joe should believe it exists
Conclusion: Joe should believe that God exists

The conclusion follows from the premises. Now, you can argue that the premises are not "reality based" but the only reason you'd have to make such a claim is if you started with the assumption that God doesn't exist. Otherwise, there's no reason to think they aren't, in Joe's case, reality based.

Hence, the point you are making here only follows if we assume God doesn't exist. If, as you say, we should start with no assumptions about whether God exists, then there's no reason to assume there's no set of reality based assumptions that wouldn't logically lead one to conclude God exists.
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
"Come on. Give me an example of something that looks designed and isn't.
"

Graphs of a mandlebrot set. Any organism.

"And Paul, you accept the watchmaker argument yourself all the time in your life."

Yes, I assume people build watches. But I know from other evidence that people build watches. So, analogously, I'd have to know from other experience that god exists, and that god build's universes, before accepting the watch-maker argument. To do otherwise is irrational.


"If you don't start with any assumptions about God, it's pretty easy to come up with sets of assumptions that would logically lead one to a belief in God. Here's a simple example:

Premise 1: Joe heard God speak to him"

Your premises include the conclusion, so its begging the question. Not logical.

[ May 31, 2009, 10:33 AM: Message edited by: Paul Goldner ]
 
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
 
quote:
But everyone just assumes that this means it's an artifact. And hell, of course it's an artifact. But why? I mean, the odds of a shape like that coming about by pure happenstance aren't that outrageous. Certainly not in comparison to an eyeball or a pocketwatch. But no one walked out of the movie saying, "I don't get it. Why did that monolith 'prove' that there was another intelligent race in the universe?" It was obvious.
Ah, but if there was a planet scattered with hundreds of thousands of monoliths in various states of perfection: some smaller, some bigger, some without smooth sides, or pointy corners, you might come to a conclusion that these are in fact some kind of localized mineral that forms large, black crystals.

There isn't just one human standing alone on a biologically inactive planet. There are billions of humans, with billions of ancestors, also humans and humanoid. There are human-like creatures still living today. There are the bones of human-like creatures that are not quite what we see today buried in the ground. Humans share tracts of their DNA with all the living creatures on the Earth, right down to the very simplest.

We are not just a single monolith, we are a whole slew of monoliths, all slightly different from each other. There is huge amounts of evidence that we as "monoliths" have not spontaneously been placed in a world that is unfamiliar to our chemical makeup. We are all of us built of the same stuff the unbiological bits of the Earth is built of. Not only that, there is evidence as to how that occurred, there is evidence of the mechanism of change. Every time a pregnant animal builds a baby we see how each animal came to be built out of

As a result, we cannot immediately conclude that life on Earth was built by an alien intelligence. We might at first be taken aback by how brilliantly well adapted and peculiar we are compared to, say, a hunk of coal. But if we consider at all we will say, "hang on a second, these monoliths (animals, plants) may look amazing, but there are so many of them, and they're all slightly different in a way that suggests that the most astonishing examples-- the humans-- are a kind of derivation of the "less perfect" monoliths. And perhaps each monolith is a derivation of another monolith and on and on all the way down to this sand that we're walking through." And when our scientists look at the sand, they find that the chemical make-up is the same, and not only that, there are the little nubbins of monoliths buried in it, growing their way up into the huge perfect monoliths that made us imagine in that initial moment of wonder that they could have been put there by an alien intelligence.

This is what Darwin did and what every single scientist has done science Darwin first noticed this. It's incredible it took us that long to figure it out from the Alien Hypothesis.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Not so. A is A is not irrational, and it's a fundamental premise.

As presented (an axiomatic assertion hijacked by Objectivism) It is actually only rational under the auspices of the philosophical premise that redefines as 'rational' only as those things which agree with that philosophical premise. It's actually absurdly circular when all things are taken into consideration.

Likewise there is a mistake with using a teleological argument to 'rationally' assert the existence of God. One might as well use Irreducable Complexity or a weak anthropic principle to 'logically' or 'rationally' conclude the existence of God; you're relying on fallacy, and only mistakenly refer to there being 'evidence' or the 'rationality' of your conclusions.

quote:
Give me an example of something that looks designed and isn't.
An eye. Hexagonal granite stone pillars. The human immune system. A planet ('wow, it's perfectly spherical and has a perfectly assembled self-perpetuating atmospheric balance!'). A fractal. Any lifeform. A snowflake.
 
Posted by Juxtapose (Member # 8837) on :
 
This argument always struck me as weird.

1. You find a black monolith on the moon.

2. You believe, with reason, that the monolith has been designed.

3. The monolith and the universe share certain characteristics.

4. This is good reason to believe the universe is designed.

But if that's true, why would the monolith stand out in the first place? Inherent in the discovery of the monolith is the notion that it stands out in some way. If the reason it stands out is that it's been designed, then that's an argument against the universe [ETA: or the moon, for the purposes of this analogy] having been designed.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Yep, that's another fun aspect of the argument. The first part of the argument relies on an assumption that the watch is designed in a way that other things are not, yet when you extend it to the universe, there are no other things. The argument says that "everything is designed" is a logical conclusion, but the original premise, about the watch, is not consistent with the conclusion, since the conclusion asserts there's nothing to make the watch stand out from everything else.
 
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
 
quote:
Okay, we land on the moon, and what do we find? A big black monolith. No writing, no nothing. The only thing special about it is that it's a perfect rectangular prism.
Which is why it was referred to as the Tycho Magnetic Anomaly.

Then there's the fact that it transmits a radio signal directed toward Jupiter. And has physical properties unequaled by anything else we've ever seen. Nope, nothing special at all.
 
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
 
What the hell does this have to do with Prop 8?
 
Posted by Dobbie (Member # 3881) on :
 
Nothing. That's the beauty of it.
 
Posted by Juxtapose (Member # 8837) on :
 
Threads drift, as does the moral zeitgeist. All is one.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
"If you don't start with any assumptions about God, it's pretty easy to come up with sets of assumptions that would logically lead one to a belief in God. Here's a simple example:

Premise 1: Joe heard God speak to him"

Your premises include the conclusion, so its begging the question. Not logical.

"Joe should believe God exists" is the conclusion you asked for. That is not one of the premises.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Actually, aren't organisms filled with all sorts of redundancies and now-useless genes?

As for begging the question...

1. Joe heard God speak to him.
2. I have no reason to think Joe is not of sound mind.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Sorry Boots, but when you're talking about something being "illogical" then logic and reason ARE the only tools available.

And religion DOES step off the deep end. A LOT.

http://www.nocaptionneeded.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/wtc-9-11.jpg

To be FAIR I can see a nationalistic pan arab movement doing something similar.
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
""Joe should believe God exists" is the conclusion you asked for. That is not one of the premises. "

Joe has a rational reason to believe god exists is the what I asked for.

One of the premises is god exists. Its begging the question. Logical fallacy.

"I have no reason to think Joe is not of sound mind. "

I do have reason to believe that joe is not a reliable reporter and interpreter of sensory input. or lack of sensory input. He's human, afterall.
 
Posted by Tinros (Member # 8328) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dobbie:
Nothing. That's the beauty of it.

And Dobbie wins the thread.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
I do have reason to believe that joe is not a reliable reporter and interpreter of sensory input. or lack of sensory input. He's human, afterall.
If you really believed that, you wouldn't be such a proponent of science over religion either. Major human factor in science as well, yes?

'Not perfect' /= delusional.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
If you really believed that, you wouldn't be such a proponent of science over religion either.
That's actually the beauty of science, since it specifically addresses this problem.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
That's actually the beauty of science, since it specifically addresses this problem.
Not entirely. Human beings are the ones doing science, right?

I'm not saying that science is as imprecise as religion for dealing with concrete facts. That'd be silly. I'm saying that to doubt religion because 'joe is not a reliable reporter and interpreter of sensory input, because he's human' is a problem that also applies very much to science as well. Even though it tries to deal with the problem.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Human beings are the ones doing science, right?
Yes. But, again, the beauty of science is that it demands reproducible results. The odds that every single person able to reproduce the same result under the same conditions (without anyone not being able to reproduce the same result under the same conditions) is deluded are much, much lower.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
One of the premises is god exists. Its begging the question. Logical fallacy.
No, one of the premises of my argument was that Joe heard God. "God exists" was not a premise.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Yes. But, again, the beauty of science is that it demands reproducible results. The odds that every single person able to reproduce the same result under the same conditions (without anyone not being able to reproduce the same result under the same conditions) is deluded are much, much lower.
How much then are the odds that someone joining a populous religion isn't deluded lowered, Tom? Somehow I suspect your answer will be 'none at all' [Smile]

And of course we don't often wait hundreds or thousands of times for something to be repeated to consider it proven scientifically. A relatively few times is enough.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Tres: perhaps you could go with "heard a message that identified itself as from God"? Otherwise "God exists" is a necessary implication of your premises, and that is begging the question: if God definitely spoke to him, of course he should believe God exists.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
Fair enough - we can go with "Joe heard a message that identified itself as from God".
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
How much then are the odds that someone joining a populous religion isn't deluded lowered, Tom? Somehow I suspect your answer will be 'none at all'
Surprisingly, no! If there's a large population of people out there claiming to hear the voice of God, the odds that they really are are higher than one solitary dude claiming to hear the voice of God. (There's a confounding factor, of course; mass hysteria is always a danger in this sort of thing. Luckily for science, few people get so hysterical that they start hallucinating inaccurate meter readings.) Unfortunately, on this specific topic, there are opposing populations claiming to hear God say different and exclusive things, so the only way to judge between them is by looking at the fruits of their claim: whether hearing God actually appears to reliably offer them any advantages as a people. Sadly, there is no evidence for this, either.
 
Posted by vonk (Member # 9027) on :
 
quote:
Unfortunately, on this topic, there are opposing populations claiming to hear God say different and exclusive things, so the only way to judge between them is by looking at the fruits of their claim: whether hearing God actually appears to reliably offer them any advantages as a people.
Is this the best way to judge religions, the result rather than the message? Some of my favorite religions have ulimately born little to no fruit. Does that make them better or worse than those with less than savory products?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Is this the best way to judge religions, the result rather than the message?
When they make testable claims, yes.

Or, for that matter, when one claims that they have logically deduced evidence of the fact that their particular sect of their particular subset of their particular religion is the correct one whose god/gods exist.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Unfortunately, on this topic, there are opposing populations claiming to hear God say different and exclusive things, so the only way to judge between them is by looking at the fruits of their claim: whether hearing God actually appears to reliably offer them any advantages as a people.
I don't thnk the "fruits" of religion is best described as that which gives the people of that religion an advantage.

The bottom line here is that if you are truly interested in understanding religion, you have to be willing to accept that people rationally form beliefs without complete certainty sometimes, that often those beliefs are based on evidence that is not formally testable or quantifiable, that frequently those beliefs leave more questions unanswered than solved, and that the fruits of thinking in such a way might not be things that can easily be proven. If a given person isn't willing to accept the possibility of these things, if they are unwilling to think beyond the bounds of the box they've put their reasoning in, then I'm afraid religion and the behavior of the religious will probably never make logical sense to them.

Even if a minority of Americans have put their thinking in such a box, that does not mean the majority should abide by it. We do have a separation between church and state, and we are NOT a theocracy. But we are a nation that has accepted religion as a valid and powerful way of thinking, coming to decisions, and living life. That is a premise at least as fundamental to our civil society as the division of church and state, and potentially more so. For the minority who wish to complain about it, they are pretty much free to do so. But for the rest of us, the challenge is to figure out how to practically deal with the disagreements between religions, within religion, and between religion and other fields of knowledge in such a way that people aren't getting shot over the abortion issue, that loving relationships aren't held back without strong reasons, and so on. It's a balancing act we've done for two centuries in the U.S. We've made slow but steady progress.

[ June 02, 2009, 08:39 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
I don't thnk the "fruits" of religion is best described as that which gives the people of that religion an advantage.
Why not? If they claim to hear the voice of God, it seems reasonable to assume that God is offering them good advice that is better than what other people are receiving.

quote:
you have to be willing to accept that people rationally form beliefs without complete certainty sometimes, that often those beliefs are based on evidence that is not formally testable or quantifiable, that frequently those beliefs leave more questions unanswered than solved, and that the fruits of thinking in such a way might not be things that can easily be proven.
I'm afraid this (broadly; your literal text does, but you don't mean exactly what you're saying) doesn't meet my standards for "rational." If you remove "rationally" from the first bit, I'm okay with that.

quote:
But we are a nation that has accepted religion as a valid and powerful way of thinking, coming to decisions, and living life.
For three hundred years, sure. I'll give it another eighty before that changes.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
So now rationality requires complete certainty?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
No, it's not the lack of certainty that's the problem.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
I'm afraid this (broadly; your literal text does, but you don't mean exactly what you're saying) doesn't meet my standards for "rational." If you remove "rationally" from the first bit, I'm okay with that.
I got my first copy of Ender's Game as a gift from someone who claimed it was a great book. But after examining the spaceship cover and reading the little summary on the back, I decided it probably wasn't up to my standard for what constitutes a book worth reading. A few months later I actually read it anyway, and realized my standards were wrong. That's the ticky thing about standards; it's not hard to get caught up in measuring things against one's standards and lose track of whether the standards are accurately measuring what really matters. Apparently, cliche covers don't indicate a book I wouldn't enjoy to the degree that I'd guessed.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
it's not hard to get caught up in measuring things against one's standards and lose track of whether the standards are accurately measuring what really matters
Yeah. Bartenders eyeball their pints, too. What does the definition of "pint" matter, when what really matters is whether it's beer?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
No, it's not the lack of certainty that's the problem.
Then what is?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Because what Tres meant to say is this:

quote:
you have to be willing to accept that people form beliefs without any mechanism by which they can attain certainty, that those beliefs are based on evidence for asserted phenomena that has never been formally testable or quantifiable, that frequently those beliefs appear to lack internal consistency or similarity to observational reality to an extent that they demand tortured speculation from their adherents, and that the fruits of thinking in such a way might be invisible or even negative to unbiased observers
Taken in toto, I think this precludes rationality.
 
Posted by Kwea (Member # 2199) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
[QB]
quote:
I don't thnk the "fruits" of religion is best described as that which gives the people of that religion an advantage.
Why not? If they claim to hear the voice of God, it seems reasonable to assume that God is offering them good advice that is better than what other people are receiving.


That assumes that God (if he existed in this argument) has the same priorities as you do, or as other people do.

It would be his message has little if anything to with the usual ways of measuring success.

[Big Grin]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
That's certainly possible. In that case, I'd argue that worship of such a god is irrational.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Unless, God's priorities are better than yours.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Always possible. Except that, as defined by the previous statements, it is impossible to verify this.

I mean, God might -- just as an example -- have a really good reason for telling me to chop off my left leg at the knee. But under this model, I have absolutely no way of determining that, or even evaluating after the fact whether that action was really necessary.

-----

That said, Kate, I'm surprised you made that observation, as I have no idea how in your worldview it would be possible for God to express a priority that you had not already concluded He had and you shared.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
Sort of like how doctors recommend I get a flu vaccine and yet I have no way of determining, even after the fact, whether the vaccine actually prevented anything from happening?
 
Posted by MrSquicky (Member # 1802) on :
 
quote:
That said, Kate, I'm surprised you made that observation, as I have no idea how in your worldview it would be possible for God to express a priority that you had not already concluded He had and you shared.
That's a bizarre thing to believe about boots' beliefs. That's not at all consistent with what she has said about them.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Tom, I have already answered the "what did I change when I became Catholic" question. On the other hand, I have been my own weird brand of religious since almost as far back as I can remember so I am not usually too puzzled by my understanding of God's priorities. And still I have my own priorities that are in conflict with what I understand to be God's priorities. For example, my priority for spending my money is on books and stuff for my apartment. I believe that God's priority is charity. Often, my priority wins, but not always.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Sort of like how doctors recommend I get a flu vaccine and yet I have no way of determining, even after the fact, whether the vaccine actually prevented anything from happening?
Yes, absolutely! Except that you can actually apply vaccines in other situations and see why they work, and moreover can research reliably reproducible data on what it is that vaccines actually do.

quote:
For example, my priority for spending my money is on books and stuff for my apartment. I believe that God's priority is charity.
I dispute this. Your ideal priority is charity. In practice, you fail to live up to that ideal, but that does not mean the ideal is necessarily at odds with your own. Your God is not a mirror; He is an idealized mirror.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Yes, absolutely! Except that you can actually apply vaccines in other situations and see why they work, and moreover can research reliably reproducible data on what it is that vaccines actually do.
Given I have no lab, no vaccines, no flu viruses, only a basic knowledge of science, limited time, and other priorities, how can I do that? Or by "can actually" do you mean "could in theory"?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Sure. You could, if you trusted the people who wrote down (and then the people who verified) the raw data, also obtain the raw data and review it.

Note that none of this is possible under religious epistemology, which lacks data in general.

Of course, you could just ask somebody you trust about what they think vaccines do. I understand that this is the sort of approach that has led directly to the whole "vaccines cause autism" flap.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:


quote:
For example, my priority for spending my money is on books and stuff for my apartment. I believe that God's priority is charity.
I dispute this. Your ideal priority is charity. In practice, you fail to live up to that ideal, but that does not mean the ideal is necessarily at odds with your own. Your God is not a mirror; He is an idealized mirror.
Well sure. I recognize that is better because it is God's priority and I recognize that God's priorities are better than my selfish one. So I try to make it my priority as well. (Sometimes.)
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
I recognize that is better because it is God's priority...
If it were not God's priority -- if God, for the sake of argument, did not exist -- would you not believe that charity is a higher ideal priority than your CD collection?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
How would I know?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Well, I'm capable of imagining what I might believe if I believed in a variety of different gods. You can't speculate on what you might believe if you didn't?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I"m still having a hard time understandin this question. Could you give me an example?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Sure, I'll elaborate. (I don't think an example would help.) If you didn't think that God existed, would you still consider charity to be a higher ideal than adding to your CD collection? Or is it only because you think God values charity that you value charity so highly, to place it above increasing the size of your collection as an ideal priority?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
If God weren't God and I didn't believe in God, I have no idea what I would believe or who I would be.

ETA: The first real recollection I have of hearing about Jesus and God was when I was about 5 and I found some book. I'm sure there were other things, I had Catholic great aunts and I went to a Lutheran parochial kindergarten. I think this was before that, though, and I don't remember anything clearly from kindergarten.

When I came across this book (I don't remember where) it put a name to something I already recognized. "Yes, that's right. Oh that is what that is called and where it comes from."

[ June 02, 2009, 03:19 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Is it likely that you would be, for example, a transsexual businessperson in Perth, Australia, who regularly (and illegally) hunts koalas for sport? Using only his teeth?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Ha! Not that likely. But who I would be in terms of doing charity and so forth? I don't really know.

I do go through phases where I am less religiously active (in fact I am in one now) and I do find that make me less apt to do other things that I believe God wants me to. But it doesn't change my belief any.

If I had never heard of Christianity, I believe I would have a similar sense of a good God but less information to shape the details of my relationship with God. Or at least different information. Not as good, I think.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Sure. You could, if you trusted the people who wrote down (and then the people who verified) the raw data, also obtain the raw data and review it.

Note that none of this is possible under religious epistemology, which lacks data in general.

Of course, you could just ask somebody you trust about what they think vaccines do. I understand that this is the sort of approach that has led directly to the whole "vaccines cause autism" flap.

Which of those two options do you think would be the more rational course for the average person who knows only an average amount about science and has only average resources, limited time, etc.:
1) Get vaccines if and only if you've obtained the raw data yourself, trust it, analyzed it, and have shown that the vaccine will do something productive for you.
2) Trust your doctor when he says you should get the vaccine.
 
Posted by 0Megabyte (Member # 8624) on :
 
Somewhere I get a strange feeling that we're missing a step somewhere here in the distinction between a doctor giving a prescription/recommendation and a supernatural force which appears to be God giving you the order to amputate your foot for no immediately visible reason.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
It's also worth noting, too, that doctors have been certified by other experts in the fact-based field of medicine as being familiar with medical facts. By contrast, clergy are not certified by other clergy as being demonstrably more familiar with God. (And, of course, the Voice of God you hear in your head hasn't even taken a single proctored exam.)
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
By contrast, clergy are not certified by other clergy as being demonstrably more familiar with God.

Aren't they in some religions?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
I don't think so. Are there clergy for whom a demonstrable, working relationship with God is one of the actual prerequisites?
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
That's not what you said.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
What's the distinction?
To become a doctor, other medical experts have to agree that you have demonstrated a familiarity with medical procedure. As far as I know, to become a clergyperson, other theologians do not require that you demonstrate a familiarity with God. (In other words: clergy are expected by other clergy to be familiar with theology, not necessarily God. They can thus be considered to have demonstrated their expert knowledge of their own religion's beliefs, but not any expert knowledge of the divine.)
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
clergy are expected by other clergy to be familiar with theology, not necessarily God.

For those who believe the theology to be true, you are making a false distinction.

You seem to want the med students to be tested by the local chiropractic board. Or the herbalists.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
You seem to want the med students to be tested by the local chiropractic board.
No, not at all. Because theologians do not themselves claim to be able to demonstrate their relationship with God. (In fact, you might be able to make a quick, dirty distinction between cults and legitimate religions by noting that cult leaders often do claim to be able to demonstrate a relationship with God, whereas reputable clergy generally do not.) Note, by the way, that I'm using the word "demonstrate" and not the word "have." Without demonstration, it'd be like walking into the Bar Exam, saying "No, really, my expensive suit proves I'm a lawyer," and all the other lawyers going, "Oh, yeah, okay."
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
Interesting you mention the bar exam. A written test -- not unlike the tests many religions require of their potential clergy.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
And how many of those written tests for clergy include questions intended to determine not how much doctrine or philosophy a clergyperson knows, but how well the clergyperson knows God?

Because, bear in mind, the value of a religion is not in its doctrine; it is in its doctrine as informed by an unimpeachable authority. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can come up with doctrine; the only thing that makes a religious doctrine special is its origin, and that's unverifiable.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
For those who believe the theology to be true, you are making a false distinction.


 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Yes, I'm aware of that. That is in and of itself one of the most useful arguments for the uselessness of religious epistemology.

You don't catch doctors saying, "Oh, there's no difference between medical knowledge and my familiarity with the history of medicine. This person here who can name seventy famous neurosurgeons is himself qualified to perform neurosurgery." There is a quantifiable, demonstrable skillset involved, not least because there are actual, real-world consequences.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
Theology is not history.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Most theologians claim first-hand knowledge of what God wants?

I'm certainly willing to grant that the profession of clergyperson incorporates elements of sociology, philosophy, psychology, etc. But I see theologians, in an effort to determine what God wants, generally applying philosophy to history. You would disagree?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Doctors don't have first hand knowledge of all the medical information they use. They study what other people have learned, add to that knowledge with their own insights when they can, use their judgement to weigh sometimes contrary information and opinions.

That is not so different from what theologians do.
 
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
 
quote:
Sure, I'll elaborate. (I don't think an example would help.) If you didn't think that God existed, would you still consider charity to be a higher ideal than adding to your CD collection? Or is it only because you think God values charity that you value charity so highly, to place it above increasing the size of your collection as an ideal priority?
I think one of the things that makes many religious people so wary of atheism is that they think that to not believe in God is to change everything, whereas I don't act very differently from someone who believes in God.
 
Posted by Ron Lambert (Member # 2872) on :
 
We are talking about ultimate reality, not ephemeral theory. If God does truly exist, then that changes everything. It is the most important fact there is. It affects absolutely everything. Conversely, if God does not exist, then that changes everything, too. That is, it makes everything have no meaning. Only with God can there be any meaning for anything. Without God, all that is left is random chance with no purpose or intent.

There is a record of God communicating with our race. In it He says to us: "What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor." (Psalms 8:4-5; NKJV) And: "For thus says the Lord of hosts: 'He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.'" (Zech. 2:8; NKJV) And: "'I have loved you,' says the Lord." (Mal. 1:2; NASB) And: "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love." (John 15:9; NASB) And: "I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father." (John 16:26-27; NASB)
 
Posted by Strider (Member # 1807) on :
 
quote:
if God does not exist, then that changes everything, too. That is, it makes everything have no meaning. Only with God can there be any meaning for anything. Without God, all that is left is random chance with no purpose or intent.
wow, I had no idea. And here I was trying to lead a good ethical life. Thanks for clearing things up for me. I'm going to go out and start murdering my neighbors now. Have an awful day!
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
That is, it makes everything have no meaning. Only with God can there be any meaning for anything.
Prove it. I'll wait.

quote:
There is a record of God communicating with our race.
Even better news! There are multiple records of multiple, often mutually exclusive, gods communicating with our race! Surely, with all these gods proven to show an interest, our lives must be fully replete with meaning! [Wink]
 
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
 
Satire aside, although "random chance without purpose or intent", as you describe it, seems like it would feel meaningless, it doesn't. [Smile]

Assuming that you regard yourself as having no epic purpose related directly to God, all the other forms of purpose, intent and meaning remain intact.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Most theologians claim first-hand knowledge of what God wants?
As far as I know, I've never had a doctor who has first hand experience analyzing the raw data from flu vaccine experiments or conducting such experiments to determine whether flu vaccines work. I'm presuming the person who gave me the shot last time had never actually conducted any such first hand experiments either. She appeared to just be repeating what she had learned from others. Am I irrational to trust them?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
She appeared to just be repeating what she had learned from others.
Do you really not see the distinction, Tres, or are you just engaging in empty rhetoric? Because having to take you step by step through the differences, frankly, seems like it would get tedious pretty quickly. And I know you're smart enough to see them on your own.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
I see the distinction, but I don't think it is what you're suggesting it is. So, back to the question, am I irrational to trust a medical expert with no first-hand experience whose expertise only comes from what he or she has learned from others?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
No. But, of course, the distinction accounts for that, since it is irrational to trust a priest who tells you what God wants you to do.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
If the priest told me something that didn't make any sense, sure. Of course, if a doctor told me something that didn't make any sense, I would probably get a second opinion on that as well.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
So, just to be clear, you've said:
1) It can be rational for me to get a vaccine even if I've never conducted a first-hand experiment to see if it will do what it is supposed to.
2) It can be rational for me to get a vaccine even if I've never personally analyzed data from experiments designed to see if it will do what it is supposed to.
3) It can be rational for me to get a vaccine even if the only reason I'm doing so is on the advice of a medical expert who has never conducted a first-hand experiment or personally analyzed data from an experiment to see if it will do what it is supposed to, and who is only giving me the advice he's been told to give.

Based on this, it's clear that at least in practical life you accept simple trust as a rational mechanism through which to justify beliefs and choices. By that I mean that it's clear that you consider it possible for a rational person to come to beliefs without any first-hand experimental evidence whatsoever, basing the belief solely on the word of an expert who himself may be basing the advice solely on some other expert's word. That's exactly what normal people do when they get a vaccine - they don't experiment on it themselves to confirm the vaccine work and most normal people probably wouldn't even have any idea how to properly go about testing whether a vaccine is effect.

Given all this, what are you now claiming is the distinction between a patient trusting a doctor vs. a religious person trusting a priest?

---

If you want to know what I think the distinction is, I think the distinction is that TomDavidson accepts scientists as experts whereas TomDavidson considers priests to lack the knowledge they claim to have. Or in other words, the distinction is in the eye of the beholder. It has very little to do with how much experimental evidence the person has, and almost everything to do with what assumptions the person is initially bringing to the table about who can be trusted and who can't. To someone who thought science is a sham and religion has all the verified answers from God, it would seem irrational to ever trust a scientist but rational to trust priests. If you come in with assumptions that lead you to believe person X is an expert, then it seems rational to trust them. If you come in with assumptions that led you to believe person X is not an expert, it probably seems crazy to trust them. In either event, "trust" is the main piece of evidence being weighed, not any experimental data.

[ June 04, 2009, 08:09 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]
 
Posted by Valentine014 (Member # 5981) on :
 
quote:

Given all this, what are you now claiming is the distinction between a patient trusting a doctor vs. a religious person trusting a priest?

Or hey, why not a superstitious person trusting their horoscope? Is that rational too?

The distinction, to me, is that one chain is just more and more people claiming "God is like this, trust me" going back a thousand years and at the end of the other chain is a crap-load of experimental data and repeatable studies.

Seems obvious to me.

Edit: Dammit, this is Xavier again. Gotta stop surfing on Niki's laptop in the morning.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Given all this, what are you now claiming is the distinction between a patient trusting a doctor vs. a religious person trusting a priest?
So you're saying you don't see the distinction?
*sigh*

The distinction is that there is a long chain of observation and expertise between the claims made by a medical doctor and the people who initially established those claims. (Heck, there's a pretty firm chain linking the people who agree that any given individual can call himself a doctor. There are standards there which -- unlike the standards for clergyhood -- relate directly to the main role of the profession. ) At any point, any of the links in that chain can be rigorously tested and plumbed -- by anyone. In fact, established convention actually rewards this behavior.

If you doubt the character of a doctor, or if new developments give you cause to doubt a piece of an underlying theory, it is absolutely possible for anyone else with the appropriate training to double-check the truth.

Compare the assertion "vaccines can prevent disease" with the assertion "God can raise the dead." Compare how one might go about obtaining information regarding the validity of either. If you don't see my point, you're being willfully blind.

quote:
I think the distinction is that TomDavidson accepts scientists as experts whereas TomDavidson considers priests to lack the knowledge they claim to have.
Not necessarily. In fact, I consider that priests do not, in general, even claim to have this knowledge. Most priests, in my experience, claim to know that someone else said "X" about God. There is no mechanism by which the assertions of that "someone else" can be tested; those assertions have not been tested in the history of mankind. In other words, the claims of priests about God hinge completely and solely upon the character of historical figures whose own lives have been heavily mythologized. Priests cannot be considered experts on the will of God precisely because there is no way to actually determine the quality of their expertise on that subject.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
At any point, any of the links in that chain can be rigorously tested and plumbed -- by anyone. In fact, established convention actually rewards this behavior.

If you doubt the character of a doctor, or if new developments give you cause to doubt a piece of an underlying theory, it is absolutely possible for anyone else with the appropriate training to double-check the truth.

First you say "anyone" can test any link of the chain, but then you say only people with "appropriate training" can double check.

How can *I* (with no lab, only a basic knowledge of science, and no time to do extensive research) test each link on the chain that leads to the assertion that I should get a flu vaccine? How am I supposed to know what is at the end of the chain?

And keep in mind there are people with far less knowledge than me. Imagine a person in a third world country who has no formal education in science whatsoever, who is told by a doctor to get a vaccine. How is that person going to test each link of the chain?
 
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
 
At least there's a chain to test somewhere.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
How can *I* (with no lab, only a basic knowledge of science, and no time to do extensive research) test each link on the chain that leads to the assertion that I should get a flu vaccine? How am I supposed to know what is at the end of the chain?
You could go ahead and acquire the necessary training. Alternately, you could find someone who has the training and ask them to check for you. And you could even double-check by finding someone skeptical, asking them to do the exact same thing, and seeing if the result's the same.

Good luck doing that with questions about God.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
Certainly I can't acquire the necessary training to test every link of every chain for every question that comes up in life. I'm going to assume that's not what you're suggesting a rational person has to do in order to be rational. Even just to answer the vaccine question would take me years of education. Attempting to become an expert on every significant question in life seems to me to be in about the same realm of possibility as calling up God on the telephone and expecting Him to answer every question I have.

But if the other option is finding someone else to check for me, how does that do anything other than simply add another link in the chain? I still have no proof that the person I'd found correctly checked all the links for me. When it comes to religion, I can easily find plenty of people willing to confirm if what my pastor said is accurate, and they'll usually do it free of charge. But that doesn't tell me if that person is right either. The same is true for doctors, or any other expert.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
But if the other option is finding someone else to check for me, how does that do anything other than simply add another link in the chain?
I'm going to ask this again: do you not see the distinction?

I'll even re-cite my example. Consider how you would go about testing the claim "vaccines can prevent diseases" versus the claim "God can raise the dead." How would you determine someone's expertise re: those questions? If you were to ask ten professionals to make two lists of the qualifications someone would need to test those claims, in what ways would those lists differ?
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
I'll repeat what I said again then: Yes, I see the distinction. I don't think the distinction is what you're trying to suggest it is. I think the distinction is based on unprovable assumptions that you are bringing in about who can be trusted, and really is not about the degree of experimental evidence available to us.

To answer your question...
For the vaccines, assuming you mean I have the resources to actually test them, first I'd have to get the vaccine. I'd give the vaccine to a set of people who are very similar to me, then compare it to another set of people who are very similar to me that did not recieve the vaccine, observe the positive and negative differences between the two sets over a large period of time, analyze those results in the context of whatever medical training I was given, and hope that whatever results I get are the result of the vaccine and not some other variable I don't know about. If I saw evidence of vaccines preventing diseases then I'd know it can. If not, I'd test it in other ways in different circumstances to see if anything changes. If I keep doing that and still nothing, then I'd be unable to answer the question because it will always be possible that vaccines can prevent diseases in some way other than how I tested it. I would never be able to show that vaccines can't prevent diseases.

For "God can raise the dead", assuming I have the reasources again, it could be simpler - I'd just look through the historical records to see if it ever happened, and hope that those records are not false. If yes, then the question is answered. If no, then I'd ask God to try (unlike vaccines, God can choose how to behave) and if someone was raised from the dead then I'd hope there's no confounding variables other than God causing it, and I would conclude yes. If he wasn't able to do it, or if he didn't try when asked, then I'd be unable to determine for sure if He can't. Just as it is impossible to show vaccines can't prevent disease, it is impossible to show God can't raise the dead.

Please know that the practical reality is that in neither case (especially not the vaccines) do I have the resources to actually test it. In either case, somebody could have the resources, but not me and not most people. Please also note that both methods also involve essentially "hoping" that the results of the study reflect reality; I can't prove absolutely that it does.

As for expertise, I'd measure vaccine expertise based on having either lots of study of or experience with medicine, but I'd also find a certification by the larger medical community (like an doctoral degree) to be convincing too. I'd measure God expertise based on either lots of study or experience with religion, but I'd also find a certification by a larger church (like being ordained as a priest) to be convincing too.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
Incidently, I'll add that I don't think most practical religious questions in life are things like "Can God raise the dead?" They are more things along the lines of "Should I forgive so and so?" or "Will I have the strength to do this?" or "What's the right thing to do?"
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
The same is true for doctors, or any other expert.

Except that doctors and scientists have performed repeatable experiments which you can repeat if you wish, and that you can often assume that if the doctor or scientist has made stuff up or lied about the results, other will speak up and call BS (and they would then present proof).
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
Others do speak up and call BS about vaccines - some say they don't work and cause autism, etc. They offer what they consider proof of that.

But I still lack the resources and knowledge to perform any experiments to verify it myself. So no, I definitely can't repeat their experiments.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
But you could, if you had the resources.

If a religious figure claimed that 'God can raise the dead,' and he cites other religious figures or people who have had holy experiences or whatever, there is no way you could repeat those and expect the same result. The repeatability criterion is not there. No amount of resources could get you to the point where you could expect a miracle to be repeated.
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
Btw, if someone was raised from the dead and it was recorded, how would you determine that god was the agent?
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
If you had the ability to get God to try to raise the dead when you asked, then you could test that as well. That possibility in theory means little when you don't have it in reality though.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Incidently, I'll add that I don't think most practical religious questions in life are things like "Can God raise the dead?" They are more things along the lines of "Should I forgive so and so?" or "Will I have the strength to do this?"
I don't think those are particularly religious questions. They're questions that some people try to use religion to answer.

quote:
Please know that the practical reality is that in neither case (especially not the vaccines) do I have the resources to actually test it.
By making this personal, you miss the point. Someone has the resources to reliably test vaccines. And of these someones, enough of them are testing that there is something like a consensual arrangement obtained. No one has the resources to reproducibly test God -- or any religious claim -- in any way.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
You're assuming that it's possible to ask God to raise the dead.

If you don't believe in God or don't believe in miracles, than there isn't even the possibility in theory. There just is no possibility for repetition.
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
Tresopax seems to regard any knowledge that he (personally) does not have immediate knowledge of as being known only through faith. And there is to be no discrimination between the various types of non-immediate knowledge. I think he is a time-traveler from the sixteenth century.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
By making this personal, you miss the point. Someone has the resources to reliably test vaccines. And of these someones, enough of them are testing that there is something like a consensual arrangement obtained. No one has the resources to reproducibly test God -- or any religious claim -- in any way.
How could you possibly know that?

Again, the distinction between trusting a religious expert and trusting a medical expert stems from the assumptions brought in by the person doing the trusting, not from experimental evidence. You are assuming that no one has tested God, but it's entirely possible that people speak to God all the time and know all sorts of things about Him reliably (some people claim this, after all.) That's something based on your worldview, not based on any material evidence. When I see my doctor, I am assuming that he was trained by experts and is following that training, I am assuming that those experts knew what they were doing when they conducted their research, I am assuming that their research can be repeated by other scientists, and I am assuming that if mistakes were made initially they would be caught by other scientists repeating the research. All of these are based on my larger worldview, not on specific evidence available to me that science is definitely doing what it seems to me that it is doing.

Those assumptions about the bigger picture of how the chain of knowledge works in science vs. the chain of knowledge in religion constitute the real distinction between trusting a doctor and trusting a pastor. It's not that average people go out and experiment to double check their doctor's advice. It's not that doctors have personally researched everything they prescribe. It's not that patients are practically capable of verifying their doctor's claims through experimentation. It's that the patients have a larger view of science that assumes knowledge is being checked thoroughly, that it is being passed down accurately through the chain, and so on. It's because the patients trust in those assumptions.

The same thing is true in other areas of expertise, including those that are not checked by any repeatable experimentation. Advice from teachers is trusted by many, not because they have access to evidence the teacher is right, but because they trust in their own assumptions that the educational system would only send competent teachers. Advice from police officers is trusted by most, not because we can prove a given police officer knows what they are talking about, but because people assume that the uniform implies we should trust them. Advice given in a newspaper is trusted not because the reader has evidence that the advisor knows what they are talking about, but rather because people assume the newspaper wouldn't hire someone who didn't know what they are talking about.

This type of trusting is not irrational. We'd need to do it to get through everyday life, because we cannot become experts on everything and study everything. In fact, it would be irrational not to go to experts and rely on them for some answers. This is how real people regularly behave and survive life.

That means it is not valid to claim religion is irrational because religious people don't have "evidence" to prove all their beliefs, or because they often have to trust authorities to tell them what to believe. Rational people behave that way all the time. If there is a difference in religion's case then it stems from your assumptions and your worldview. I'm fine with you asserting that you think your assumptions are correct and others are wrong. Obviously you think that. But claiming others are wrong is different from claiming they are irrational. Under a religious set of assumptions about the world, it logically and rationally follows that one should often trust in priests or religious authorities.

[ June 04, 2009, 12:40 PM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
When I see my doctor, I am assuming that he was trained by experts and is following that training, I am assuming that those experts knew what they were doing when they conducted their research, I am assuming that their research can be repeated by other scientists, and I am assuming that if mistakes were made initially they would be caught by other scientists repeating the research.

That's because he was trained by a certified group of experts (he's got the degree to prove it), their research can be repeated, is repeated, and when it can't be repeated the original experiment is thrown into doubt. That is what science does very well.

quote:
It's not that doctors have personally researched everything they prescribe. It's not that patients are practically capable of verifying their doctor's claims through experimentation. It's that the patients have a larger view of science that assumes knowledge is being checked thoroughly, that it is being passed down accurately through the chain, and so on. It's because the patients trust in those assumptions.
It's because if you wanted to, you could follow the "rules of science" all the way back to the original assumptions, through a peer-reviewed, rigorous, experimentally proven chain.

quote:
Advice from teachers is trusted by many, not because they have access to evidence the teacher is right, but because they trust in their own assumptions that the educational system would only send competent teachers.
Maybe for you, but I sure didn't assume that my school would send me competent teachers. There were several times where the teachers clearly were not competent, and I would have gotten a worse education if I assumed that they were.

quote:
That means it is not valid to claim religion is irrational because religious people don't have "evidence" to prove all their beliefs, or because they often have to trust authorities to tell them what to believe.
I respectfully disagree. The concept of miraculous healing or resurrection has no evidence, no proof, and has in no way (except through stories) made itself apparent in my lifetime. Now, if I saw one miraculous healing, or one resurrection, then things would be different. I'd still have my doubts. Maybe I was tricked. If I saw another, and another, I would change my mind. But I haven't seen even one. I haven't even heard someone I would trust tell me that they've seen even one.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I would see advice you get from clergy as more like legal advice than medical advice. They have studied the law, they know what the precedents are, they know what outcomes are likely.
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:

Again, the distinction between trusting a religious expert and trusting a medical expert stems from the assumptions brought in by the person doing the trusting, not from experimental evidence. You are assuming that no one has tested God, but it's entirely possible that people speak to God all the time and know all sorts of things about Him reliably (some people claim this, after all.) That's something based on your worldview, not based on any material evidence.

I am observing that no one has produced sufficient evidence of any test of God that does not allow for a host of equally plausible (or more plausible) explanations.

quote:

When I see my doctor, I am assuming that he was trained by experts and is following that training, I am assuming that those experts knew what they were doing when they conducted their research, I am assuming that their research can be repeated by other scientists, and I am assuming that if mistakes were made initially they would be caught by other scientists repeating the research. All of these are based on my larger worldview, not on specific evidence available to me that science is definitely doing what it seems to me that it is doing.

Assumptions are made for convenience; however they are always open to revision. Hence people change doctors, file malpractice claims, get second opinions etc. Fundamentally, though, the reason the assumption is made at all is that the myriad medical successes have provided a normative reason to go to the doctor when sick.

quote:

Those assumptions about the bigger picture of how the chain of knowledge works in science vs. the chain of knowledge in religion constitute the real distinction between trusting a doctor and trusting a pastor. It's not that average people go out and experiment to double check their doctor's advice. It's not that doctors have personally researched everything they prescribe. It's not that patients are practically capable of verifying their doctor's claims through experimentation. It's that the patients have a larger view of science that assumes knowledge is being checked thoroughly, that it is being passed down accurately through the chain, and so on. It's because the patients trust in those assumptions.

The difference is that the chain of knowledge in science has repeatedly been demonstrated to be highly successful. It is fallible - sometimes researchers present false results, sometimes human error occurs, sometimes unplanned for events occur etc etc. However, we have computers, cars, long lifespans etc due to science. These are tangible outcomes due to both the scientific process (obtaining laws) and acceptance of the 'chain of knowledge' (engineers assume the scientific laws and have successfully built some remarkably complex things).

quote:

The same thing is true in other areas of expertise, including those that are not checked by any repeatable experimentation. Advice from teachers is trusted by many, not because they have access to evidence the teacher is right, but because they trust in their own assumptions that the educational system would only send competent teachers. Advice from police officers is trusted by most, not because we can prove a given police officer knows what they are talking about, but because people assume that the uniform implies we should trust them. Advice given in a newspaper is trusted not because the reader has evidence that the advisor knows what they are talking about, but rather because people assume the newspaper wouldn't hire someone who didn't know what they are talking about.

People change these habits really fast based on experience. Would a Zulu have trusted an Africaner policeman in apartheid era South Africa? Would you continue to unquestionably accept news from an error-prone newspaper?

quote:

This type of trusting is not irrational. We'd need to do it to get through everyday life, because we cannot become experts on everything and study everything. In fact, it would be irrational not to go to experts and rely on them for some answers. This is how real people regularly behave and survive life.

But it would be irrational if these assumptions weren't revised based on outcomes.

quote:

That means it is not valid to claim religion is irrational because religious people don't have "evidence" to prove all their beliefs, or because they often have to trust authorities to tell them what to believe. Rational people behave that way all the time. If there is a difference in religion's case then it stems from your assumptions and your worldview. I'm fine with you asserting that you think your assumptions are correct and others are wrong. Obviously you think that. But claiming others are wrong is different from claiming they are irrational. Under a religious set of assumptions about the world, it logically and rationally follows that one should often trust in priests or religious authorities.

My claim is not that religion is irrational. Rationality is a very tricky thing. It is very rational that one wants life to be as enjoyable for one as possible. Practicing religion might be an asset in realizing this very rational goal. My claim is simply that the evidence for the existence of god is deficient when compared to say evidence of the existence of an electron.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
We'd need to do it to get through everyday life, because we cannot become experts on everything and study everything. In fact, it would be irrational not to go to experts and rely on them for some answers. This is how real people regularly behave and survive life.

What makes people experts is that they know what claims in the field pass reality checks, and which ones don't. And they can demonstrate their expertice by pointing you to the reality checks that support their claims.

A theological expert might know what Thomas Aquinis wrote, and be able to point you to the text to prove that what he claims he wrote he did in fact write. That's the reality check for that. But they can't provide the reality check demonstrating that Jesus redeemed you from sin, or that God wants you to tithe 10% of your income. There's just no way to reality check those.

That's the difference.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
You are assuming that no one has tested God, but it's entirely possible that people speak to God all the time and know all sorts of things about Him reliably...
I have material evidence that people can make testable claims about vaccines.

I have no material evidence suggesting that people can make testable claims about God. If you do, you're welcome to present some.

Until then, it is perfectly rational to assume that no such evidence exists, in the same way that it is perfectly rational to assume that there are no unicorn horns to be found in the wild.

------------

quote:
I would see advice you get from clergy as more like legal advice than medical advice.
Except that the one thing clergy claim to provide that a therapist cannot is God's opinion on the matter. Going to a clergyperson for life advice not related to God's opinion would be like going to a doctor for legal advice. It's entirely possible that a given doctor might even be able to offer competent legal advice on certain topics, but that's not within the remit of the profession.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by natural_mystic:

People change these habits really fast based on experience. Would a Zulu have trusted an Africaner policeman in apartheid era South Africa? Would you continue to unquestionably accept news from an error-prone newspaper?


Nor would I trust a religion that seemed bad to me or trusted a priest who gave me error prone advice.

Tom, I should have been more clear. I was saying that going to clergy for religious advice was more like going to a lawyer for legal edvice than it was like going to a doctor for medical advice.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
I have material evidence that people can make testable claims about vaccines.

I have no material evidence suggesting that people can make testable claims about God. If you do, you're welcome to present some.

Until then, it is perfectly rational to assume that no such evidence exists, in the same way that it is perfectly rational to assume that there are no unicorn horns to be found in the wild.

Bob the farmer in rural Africa has no material evidence that viruses exist and has almost no understanding of how science works. If a doctor comes to visit and warns him that he needs to take precautions against the "HIV virus", is it perfectly rational for him to assume that unless the doctor can present him with material evidence that people can make testable claims about "viruses", no such evidence exists?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Bob is ignorant. This is curable. By what reliable method would you suggest someone can become less ignorant about God?
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
I have material evidence that people can make testable claims about vaccines.

I have no material evidence suggesting that people can make testable claims about God. If you do, you're welcome to present some.

Until then, it is perfectly rational to assume that no such evidence exists, in the same way that it is perfectly rational to assume that there are no unicorn horns to be found in the wild.

Bob the farmer in rural Africa has no material evidence that viruses exist and has almost no understanding of how science works. If a doctor comes to visit and warns him that he needs to take precautions against the "HIV virus", is it perfectly rational for him to assume that unless the doctor can present him with material evidence that people can make testable claims about "viruses", no such evidence exists?
It he asks the doctor "How do you know this virus ixists? I can't see it. I don't believe you." The doctor can explain it, give him a pamphlet that has references, can point him to a book or journal that explains it. All of the tools that Bob the farmer needs to learn for himself are there. If Bob doesn't believe something, he can look it up, or ask someone else, or work really hard and test it himself.

If a missionary tells Bob the farmer that heaven exists and that the only way he can get to it is to become Christian and accept Jesus, and Bob asks "How do you know this heaven exists? I can't see it. I don't believe you." The missionary can only tell stories and give Bob the bible. If Bob doesn't believe something, he's stuck.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
We have journals and pamphlets and books as well.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
But what to they reference? If Bob doesn't believe the Bible, where else are you going to point him to?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
You can also coach bob through very simple experiments that demonstrate the validity of the scientific method through the production of repeatable results. You can even take that start and expand it exponentially with education. By the time Bob's through with even junior high school level science you have demonstrated through testable claims what science has that religion does not: productive answers to testable claims.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Again, we are falling into the trap of thinking that the scientif method is the only tool we have for understanding life.

TWW, If Bob doesn't believe science why would writing it down make any difference. And there is a whole host of written material about theology that isn't the Bible or even about the Bible.
 
Posted by The White Whale (Member # 6594) on :
 
If Bob doesn't believe science, show it to him. It can be demonstrated, with physical matter.

If Bob doesn't believe in God, what can you do but write it down for him. It cannot be demonstrated.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Again, we are falling into the trap of thinking that the scientific method is the only tool we have for understanding life.

It is the only method which reliably finds and discards false and erroneous claims.

You can't expect to find true things if you can't differentiate them from false.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Again, we are falling into the trap of thinking that the scientif method is the only tool we have for understanding life.[/quote[]

We are?

[quote]TWW, If Bob doesn't believe science why would writing it down make any difference.

You don't understand how going through the scientific method to discern testable things makes a difference in understanding science?

Overall I think the counterargument that says "Well if he doesn't believe it, how is it any different than religion?" is an extraordinarily weak equivalency argument. It is forced to ignore why they are really not equivalent at all.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Bob is ignorant. This is curable. By what reliable method would you suggest someone can become less ignorant about God?
In this example, neither Bob nor the doctor has time to extensively school Bob in science. Bob has to go farm his crops and the doctor has to go visit other people. Bob doesn't understand the pamphlets or books given to him. So, practically speaking Bob's ignorance of biology and science is not going to be cured. Given this, given that no material evidence is practically available to show Bob that would convince him that the doctor is speaking the truth, is Bob irrational to accept what the doctor is telling him about the HIV threat?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
It depends. Does Bob understand the difference between what makes the doctor a doctor and a shaman a shaman?
 
Posted by Corwin (Member # 5705) on :
 
Ok, Bob might not have the time to try and understand all that. So Bob might go to the shaman for his problems. And Pete might go to the doctor for his. If Bob, following the shaman's advice, becomes ill and dies while Pete, following the doctor's advice, will live, who do you think others will turn to? Sure, the shaman might tell them, it was Bob's turn to die and whatever we did couldn't save him. But people are not forced to believe him on that. And they will remember that and the next time the doctor tells them they're sick they will probably not turn to the shaman.

And, you know, Pete might die too. After all, doctors can't cure everything. But multiply the Bob/Pete situation by 10, 100, 1000. When 900 out of 1000 shaman's patients die, and 100 out of 1000 doctor's patients die, who do you think people will turn to? They might not see the virus, but they can see the two methods' effects. Even someone with no medical understanding is more likely to choose the solution that gives him the best odds to live from the evidence he's seen.

So Bob might still be screwed. But after a while there won't be too many Bobs left, people who have had no first hand experience of a doctor's work or its effects.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Does Bob understand the difference between what makes the doctor a doctor and a shaman a shaman?
We'll say he knows there is a difference, but doesn't know what a med school is or exactly what process doctors go through to become doctors. He does know that doctors use "science" to heal sick people, and that shamans do not.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Well, then, no, Bob is not behaving rationally. He has failed to obtain the bare minimum of data necessary to make a rational decision; he lacks the ability to evaluate the quality of any datum put before him, precluding the rationality of any decisions he might be called upon to make.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
So, you think that if Bob is to behave rationally, given he doesn't have more data or understanding, he should ignore the doctors warnings about the HIV threat?

The problem here is that I'd wager the vast majority of people in the world, even most people in America, are a lot like Bob. They don't have time to go research things on their own, they don't really have a firm grasp on how science operates, they wouldn't understand how to interpret the results of a scientific reasearch paper if given to them to read, etc. Studies also seem to suggest this lack of understanding of science.

Given that, and given that these people aren't about to all go spend significant amounts of time taking courses in science so they can understand how to interpret scientific evidence, your standard of rationality seems to suggest that these people shouldn't trust the advice given to them by doctors and other experts. I'd think that would result in many of them getting dangerously sick.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
So, you think that if Bob is to behave rationally, given he doesn't have more data or understanding, he should ignore the doctors warnings about the HIV threat?
No. If Bob is to behave rationally, he should educate himself before making a decision. He is not equipped to make a rational decision with his current faculties.

Note that Bob might just choose to educate himself about what a doctor is, relative to what a shaman is; it is not necessary for him to fully understand the science to understand the difference in the quality of the recommendations he's received.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
What do you mean educate himself about what a doctor is? What sort of things would he need to learn? And why would that make a difference? Earlier you said that "material evidence" is necessary. Looking up what a doctor is and how a doctor is different from a shaman does not give you anything "material" at all.

And even more problematic, what if it isn't possible for him to learn more details about what a doctor does that makes a doctor a doctor? Are you suggesting that unless someone is around to teach him, it is impossible for him to act rationally?
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
What do you mean educate himself about what a doctor is? What sort of things would he need to learn? And why would that make a difference?

Doctors are the people who keep almost all diabetics from ending up like Kara Neumann. Doctors don't succeed 100% of the time, but usually if they say they can make you better, they succeed. And if they say they can't, no shaman will be able to do any better.

So if you want your child who's in a diabetic coma to live, it makes a very big difference that the doctor will probably be able to make that happen, and the shaman won't.

quote:
And even more problematic, what if it isn't possible for him to learn more details about what a doctor does that makes a doctor a doctor?
Tom is arguing that part of the definition of a rational decision is that it's made in light of relevent evidence. So by that definition, a completely ignorant decision isn't rational. It just can't be.

If you want to define rational as being a process that has nothing to do with evidence, I suppose you can try. But by doing so, you've sucked all the virtue out the term. It's like saying that you don't see why Rolls-Royces are such great cars, because Ford Pintos are Rolls-Royces too, so what's the big deal?

It's blatent equivocation.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
Yeah, I mean, you can't use bob as an example that makes the equivocation possible, no matter how strictly you maintain Bob's denseness and scientific illiteracy.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Doctors are the people who keep almost all diabetics from ending up like Kara Neumann. Doctors don't succeed 100% of the time, but usually if they say they can make you better, they succeed. And if they say they can't, no shaman will be able to do any better.
Bob has heard that this is said to be the case, from friends and neighbors. However, being a farmer in rural Africa, he has never done a scientific study of the success rate of doctors, so he certainly has no material evidence regarding whether or not advice from doctors usually works.
quote:
Tom is arguing that part of the definition of a rational decision is that it's made in light of relevent evidence. So by that definition, a completely ignorant decision isn't rational. It just can't be.
Tom has essentially defined ignorance as lacking evidence to answer the question, and has limited the term "evidence" to include only material scientific evidence. By those standards, most people are ignorant about most things they have to decide in life. All children would be. All uneducated people would be. Even highly educated people who read sci-fi books and frequent internet forums would be ignorant on many issues that they have not studied closely.

I haven't offered any alternative definition. I'm simply pointing out that the concept of rationality that Tom is advocating directly would imply (1) that acting rationally is practically impossible for most people in most situations, and (2) that an average person trying to act rationally by Tom's definition would have to ignore the advice of countless experts, resulting in all sorts of dangerous decisions such as Bob's decision to assume AIDS isn't real.

If that were the true meaning of rationality, then rationality appears far less than it is cracked up to be, at least for us non-omniscient folks who don't have material evidence available for every possible question in the world.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
that acting rationally is practically impossible for most people in most situations
Rather, acting rationally is harder than being a lazy, stupid lump of know-nothingness.

If Bob's so uninterested in actually being able to judge for himself the truth of any given situation, my opinion of him is the least of his worries.

(It's worth noting, by the way, that I have not universally limited the word "evidence" to material, scientific evidence. But you're welcome to play dumb and pretend that you think I have, since it really doesn't appear to be working for you. Let me just point out, though, that this is an argument you have resoundingly lost.)
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Rather, acting rationally is harder than being a lazy, stupid lump of know-nothingness.

If Bob's so uninterested in actually being able to judge for himself the truth of any given situation, my opinion of him is the least of his worries.

Uninterested? Bob is a farmer. If he goes off to school his crops will die, and the tuition would be far more than he could reasonably afford. He could sell the farm and go off to school, but it wouldn't be enough for even a year's worth of education, and he'd be left with nothing afterwards. Bob would love to understand what science is all about, but he can't. Not everyone in the world has the luxury of possessing all the knowledge that you seem to think everyone should have.

quote:
(It's worth noting, by the way, that I have not universally limited the word "evidence" to material, scientific evidence. But you're welcome to play dumb and pretend that you think I have, since it really doesn't appear to be working for you. Let me just point out, though, that this is an argument you have resoundingly lost.)
In a way similar to how the doctor resoundingly "lost" his argument with Bob when he failed to convince Bob that HIV exists, perhaps... I'm not sure my goal is necessarily to "win" so much as come to the correct answer though. [Wink]

However, if you are not limiting "evidence" to only material, scientific evidence in the context of rationality, then please tell me what it is you consider evidence to be - because you are ambiguously switching back and forth whenever it suits your point. For instance, you did just say this:

"I have material evidence that people can make testable claims about vaccines.

I have no material evidence suggesting that people can make testable claims about God. If you do, you're welcome to present some.

Until then, it is perfectly rational to assume that no such evidence exists, in the same way that it is perfectly rational to assume that there are no unicorn horns to be found in the wild."


Do see why that might lead me to believe you believe material evidence is the only sort of evidence that counts?
 
Posted by Raymond Arnold (Member # 11712) on :
 
quote:
Uninterested? Bob is a farmer. If he goes off to school his crops will die, and the tuition would be far more than he could reasonably afford. He could sell the farm and go off to school, but it wouldn't be enough for even a year's worth of education, and he'd be left with nothing afterwards. Bob would love to understand what science is all about, but he can't. Not everyone in the world has the luxury of possessing all the knowledge that you seem to think everyone should have.
This is sort of getting into a "sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" type argument. Which is true. But I'm not sure exactly what point you're trying to make. If you have no idea what science is and don't have the opportunity to learn and no one bothers to teach you and the shaman and the doctor are equally respected members of the village then of COURSE it's going to be irrelevant which one you go to.

That doesn't change the fact science is completely based around the notion that anyone CAN understand it if they approach it from the bottom up, and once they do it's going to become clear that it works. Whereas mysticism will always be shrouded in mystery and regardless of whether it has truth to it, one will never be able to distinguish it from placebo-smokes-and-mirrors.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
The shaman and doctor and not equally respected though. The village considers the doctor to be much more of a valid authority. They just have no material evidence to back that conclusion up.

My point is that it is perfectly rational to accept an expert's opinion as strong evidence itself, even if you have no material evidence to back it up. In fact, it would be irrational of Bob not to.
 
Posted by Paul Goldner (Member # 1910) on :
 
I am an expert in the field of determining whether someone is being rational or not.
Bob is not being rational if he accepts the shaman as an expert. You should accept my opinion as strong evidence, and not doing so would be irrational.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
The shaman and doctor and not equally respected though. The village considers the doctor to be much more of a valid authority.
Oh, Lord, if only that were true.

quote:
My point is that it is perfectly rational to accept an expert's opinion as strong evidence itself...
My point is that the shaman is not an expert. And it is not rational to accept someone's opinion as an expert opinion unless you have a solid rationale for doing so, which Bob does not. Moreover, you have created a hypothetical situation in which Bob is unable to do so.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
My situation is not all that hypothetical; I'd bet there's over a billion people in the world that are practically unable to establish what you are calling "a solid rationale" for trusting medical experts.

But beyond even that, I'm guessing that even you trust experts for which you have no material evidence of their expertise. Which experts have you trusted recently? Ever call a help line without establishing anything about the person on the other line giving help? Ever trust something told to you by a Hatracker on this forum whose identity you've never verified? I suspect that there's plenty of times where even you have trusted the expertise of people with no material evidence and no "solid rationale" other than that they appear to be an expert.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Tres, you really don't realize how thoroughly your point has been dismantled here, do you?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
This whole Bob thing is being tortured to death by now. All Bob really establishes is that it is very possible for people to be incredibly ignorant, especially when they are hypothetical people in extraordinarily contorted hypothetical conceptualizations custom-tailored for ignorance.

re: the material evidence/help line thing: I can't open Office one day. I call up Microsoft's technical help number and rationally expect for them to be more likely to help me solve my software problem than my friend Greg. I can do this without the whole "establishment" or "material evidence" related to who is going to be on the other end of the line. I can make this rational assessment with a solid rationale, without having to do anything like witness the person on the other end of the line solve other computer problems first.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Well, I would argue that in your Microsoft situation you are relying on an establishment of sorts to make your determination. It's also worth noting that, as your example calls into sharp relief, sometimes this sort of more casual decision does fail; certainly, in my experience, calling a random friend of mine has been more helpful than calling Microsoft's technical support hotline. This is one of the reasons that third parties are so important; they help check the otherwise unverifiable assertions of fact.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Tres, you really don't realize how thoroughly your point has been dismantled here, do you?
Tom, if you want to go the route of claiming "victory", I'll point out that by your own admissions your original point has been refuted. You were originally claiming that you needed direct material evidence for all beliefs you hold in order to be rational, but now you've granted (1) it's okay to trust experts as long as they have direct material evidence even if you don't have the evidence yourself, (2) it's okay to trust experts even if they are merely trusting a long chain of experts with material evidence only at the beginning, (3) you don't even have to confirm the material evidence exists, as long as you understand what makes the expert an expert and have material evidence that it is possible for the expert to have material evidence. You are still holding off on admitting that it's okay to trust an expert when you don't understand exactly how they became an expert, but that has put you in the awkward position of concluding that uneducated people around the world shouldn't trust anything their doctors tell them. Even if you won't admit that, it's still true that we've confirmed a person does not personally need material evidence in order to rationally believe something.

And that, in turn, means that if you want to claim it is irrational to believe in God then you're going to have to come up with a much better reason than "they have no direct material evidence of God."

quote:
re: the material evidence/help line thing: I can't open Office one day. I call up Microsoft's technical help number and rationally expect for them to be more likely to help me solve my software problem than my friend Greg. I can do this without the whole "establishment" or "material evidence" related to who is going to be on the other end of the line. I can make this rational assessment with a solid rationale, without having to do anything like witness the person on the other end of the line solve other computer problems first.
I agree completely. This illustrates that having a solid rationale for trusting someone does not require the sort of material evidence Tom was talking about an the beginning of this discussion. Rational people trust others if they think those others know what they are talking about.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
You were originally claiming that you needed direct material evidence for all beliefs you hold in order to be rational
No, see, as I said earlier, that's what you thought I was claiming. Do you understand now why I've been maintaining a ginormous eye-roll in your direction? [Smile]

quote:
And that, in turn, means that if you want to claim it is irrational to believe in God then you're going to have to come up with a much better reason than "they have no direct material evidence of God."
If you're back to this, Tres, you're either playing dumb or you really, genuinely, had no idea what people on this thread were talking about when they were talking about the differences between a doctor and a shaman. I mean, seriously, do you understand the distinction? Do you agree that there is one?

quote:
This illustrates that having a solid rationale for trusting someone does not require the sort of material evidence Tom was talking about an the beginning of this discussion. Rational people trust others if they think those others know what they are talking about.
Whereas I would say that this only goes to prove my point, since no truly rational person would call Microsoft technical support for help with an Office product when they have a friend named Greg available.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
In that case, I'm glad we've clarified that we are in agreement that direct material evidence is not personally needed to rationally hold a belief. Please know that this is why Christians consider their religion to be rational, even though most cannot pull any kind of direct material evidence out of their pocket when requested to prove it.

Of course there's a difference between a priest and a doctor. There's also a difference between a doctor and a tech support guy. And a difference between a doctor and a shaman. And a difference between a priest and shaman. There's all sorts of types of potential experts who go about supposedly getting expertise in different ways. I'm well aware that that you personally don't consider a priest to be an expert on the truth about God. However, that is not what most Christians believe. Most Christians believe that priests do have some degree of expertise that has been gained through personally observing, studying, and meditating on God's influence on the world (including material things that priests and other religious individuals have concluded to be evidence of God's hand.) I'm well aware that you personally don't agree with that assumption, but as long as Christians DO accept that assumption, it is rational for Christians to give weight to what a priest, or the Church as a whole, says.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Please know that this is why Christians consider their religion to be rational... I'm well aware that that you personally don't consider a priest to be an expert on the truth about God. However, that is not what most Christians believe.
Oh, I know. But this is, in and of itself, irrational for the reasons given earlier. There is no demonstrable evidence of any kind that priests are experts on the truth about God. In fact, rival groups of priests dispute that other groups of priests are experts on the truth about God. There is no research that can be performed by any human being alive that will show that any given group of priests is more qualified than any other given human beings to speak to the truth about God.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
In that case, I'm glad we've clarified that we are in agreement that direct material evidence is not personally needed to rationally hold a belief. Please know that this is why Christians consider their religion to be rational, even though most cannot pull any kind of direct material evidence out of their pocket when requested to prove it.
And please know that we've already discussed why that's not rational.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Bob might not see why scientific evidence is evidence...
Except that while Bob might not see it, your evidence is "evidence" that Bob cannot see.

quote:
To clarify, the evidence I'm referring to is mostly lives that were improved significantly through their interaction with the church.
Well, that's just silly. I know you already know enough about this sort of thing to know that that evidence amounts to "lives that were improved (according to a given set of standards for improvement) during interaction with the church." You'd have to actually show a mechanism by which church membership improved lives -- where the absence of church membership, or belonging to a contrary church, did not -- to even start to have a conversation about causation.

Like I said: irrational.

But, seriously, does it bother you to hold an irrational belief? If so, why?
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
Hmmm... ok I deleted my post because I had wanted to write it more clearly, but it looks like you caught it before I did so!

But seriously, imagine that Bob, being in the situation described earlier where he lacks information to verify the doctor's expertsie, went around the village to find out about his fellow villagers' interactions with the doctor. He discoveres that with many different villagers, he was able to diagnose and successfully cure their diseases. He did a quick tally and found 10 people the doctor was successfully able to help, and 2 people he could not. Would you not consider this any evidence at all in favor of the idea that the doctor has some kind of medical expertise?

As I'd said, I've seen plenty of people whose lives were improved through the church. When asked, many of these will report that it is because their relationship with God has improved. If you'd prefer I be more scientific, we could have a study in which a large sample of people who went to church were compared with another sample of people who didn't go to church, and asked about their relationship with God. I suspect the people who regularly went to church would report a better relationship with God. And I suspect if we only included religious theists, that result would still hold true. So if the question is whether the church has some expertise on God, I'd consider that to be significant evidence in favor, at least if my goal is to improve my relationship with God. It'd be more evidence than I have for my dentist's expertise, for instance. I suspect it's at least as much evidence as you have for trusting your "random friend" on tech questions.

Again, I'd guess you disagree. But disagreeing with something is different from thinking it is irrational. Or do you think they are the same? What is the difference between "wrong" and "irrational" in your mind?

quote:
Except that while Bob might not see it, your evidence is "evidence" that Bob cannot see.
I believe Bob likely could see my evidence as well as I can, if Bob came to church, etc. But convincing a dedicated atheist of religious evidence sometimes seems like convincing a dedicated creationist of evolution. A creationist can be shown the evidence of evolution but often doesn't interpret the evidence in the way most interpret it. I'm not going to accept there is no evidence of evolution just because some creationists aren't convinced by it. Most people are - and I am.

[ June 08, 2009, 08:06 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Would you not consider this any evidence at all in favor of the idea that the doctor has some kind of medical expertise?
No, not really. Certainly not in and of itself. The only "evidence" here is that 10 out of 12 people visited felt better later.

quote:
If you'd prefer I be more scientific, we could have a study in which a large sample of people who went to church were compared with another sample of people who didn't go to church, and asked about their relationship with God.
Except you're still measuring at this point how good someone thinks his relationship with God is. There's a reason that, when recording cancer rates, we don't record the number of people who think they have cancer. I would be completely unsurprised if the percentage of people who think they have a good relationship with God is higher among people who specifically think they're cultivating such a relationship. I'm sure the number of people who think they're growing radishes is made up significantly of people who bought planted the contents of packets labeled "Radish" on the front.

quote:
A creationist can be shown the evidence of evolution but often doesn't interpret the evidence in the way most interpret it.
Show me some evidence of God, evidence that actually meets evidentiary standards. I'll wait. Take all the time you like.
 
Posted by Corwin (Member # 5705) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Would you not consider this any evidence at all in favor of the idea that the doctor has some kind of medical expertise?
No, not really. Certainly not in and of itself. The only "evidence" here is that 10 out of 12 people visited felt better later.

I'd say the likelihood that the doctor is doing the healing improves with this sort of evidence. Of course both the doctor and the shaman could scam their way to being perceived as best healers: the doctor could chose only people who he knows he can heal and the shaman could chose people he knows are not sick but that would require some cooperation from the subjects. Otherwise how could the doctor explain that the ones he turned away as healthy would die, or continue to suffer? Or how could the shaman convince other people that his "patients" who don't feel any pain actually suffer from the same disease as the ones who do feel pain?
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
He discoveres that with many different villagers, he was able to diagnose and successfully cure their diseases. He did a quick tally and found 10 people the doctor was successfully able to help, and 2 people he could not. Would you not consider this any evidence at all in favor of the idea that the doctor has some kind of medical expertise?

Does it surprise anyoen that Tres has no idea what a control group is?

No Tres, this information in a vacuum tells you nothing. Because of 10 out of 12 people who don't see a doctor get better on their own, then the doctor isn't actually doing anything.

quote:
As I'd said, I've seen plenty of people whose lives were improved through the church. When asked, many of these will report that it is because their relationship with God has improved.
No control group. People "feel better" about their relationship about God in churches which teach completely opposite things about God. If Mohammad is the last prophet of God, the Joseph Smith can't be one too. So those churches can't both be right. Both are claiming expertice about whom is a true prohpet of God, and at least one of them is wildly, fatally off the mark.

Are you counting completely, wildly false beliefs as "expertice"?

quote:
So if the question is whether the church has some expertise on God, I'd consider that to be significant evidence in favor, at least if my goal is to improve my relationship with God.
You would. But without a real control group, you would be wrong to draw that conclusion. And you still have the problem of dueling 'expertice'. Are the Muslims right, or the Mormons? They can't both be right. So if people in both churches report being happier with their relationship to God (as mediated by their understanding of God's prophet's legitimate teachings), how do you determine which expertice is actually correct?

Or are you somehiow defining the word "expertice" to include believing things which are utterly false?

quote:
A creationist can be shown the evidence of evolution but often doesn't interpret the evidence in the way most interpret it.
Do you honestly think that that is the real reason that people are Creationists?

Do you really, honestly think that the evidence of Creationists' understanding of evolution, as demonstrated by their statements supports that take?
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Show me some evidence of God, evidence that actually meets evidentiary standards. I'll wait. Take all the time you like.
Whose standards? Show me some evidence of evolution that meets a creationist's standards. They can come up with "standards" to deny your evidence just as easily as you can come up with "standards" to deny mine. I just cited evidence that meets my standard for evidence.

The problem is that I strongly suspect your standards aren't consistent with how even you act in your life with anything other than religion. I don't believe you apply the same evidentiary standard before accepting your dentist, or your accountant, or your child's teacher, etc. Or perhaps you do, but virtually everyone else I know plainly does not. If I say I saw "Up" this weekend and it is a good movie, most people I know will simply trust that I did actually see the movie and thus have some degree of expertise about it - I doubt most people would think rationality pevents them from accepting my review on the grounds that I am unable to prove that I went to the movie. Or if that's not subjective enough for you, if I go to the doctor and complain that I had a throat that hurt yesterday, the doctor is going to accept that I know what I felt; he's not going to say that rationally he can't believe me unless I am in some way able to prove that my throat actually felt sore.

A rational person acts in a way that will give them the most benefits at the lowest cost. Accepting expert opinion allows us to gain knowledge without the extensive costs of researching it ourselves. A person who actually acted in the way you are suggesting would end up spending tons of time doing research, and yet ends up with fewer benefits because they are not allowed to trust anyone that they can't confirm with research. A person acting in the way I am suggesting spends far less time researching yet ends up with more knowledge. There is a risk to this, since the knowledge is less confirmed, and you seem to be suggesting a rational person would choose the option with zero risk. But that doesn't follow - a rational person would take a risk that the person concluded was outweighed by the likely benefits.

[ June 08, 2009, 10:54 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]
 
Posted by Corwin (Member # 5705) on :
 
Well, people who have seen "Up" can ask you about specific things in it. You can try to fool them by saying you've forgotten most of it, or tell them things from the trailers or other reviews. But in the first case no one could take your review as serious as someone's who can actually talk about some scenes in the movie. And you can easily check whether the reviewer knows what he says by watching the movie! If your review seems pertinent after I watched the movie, should I care whether it's really yours, or if you read it somewhere?!

As for the doctor, actually, I don't think they believe anything you tell them... You can try to skip school by saying your head hurts, but he's gonna try to talk more about it and find out why. Sure, you can fool him once; you can do it several times with several different doctors. But try to come to the same doctor 10 times in a short time-frame and tell him your head hurts and see if he gives you a prescription for painkillers and a note saying you can skip school each time without checking to see what the problem is. Without you paying him to do it, that is. [Wink]
 
Posted by Corwin (Member # 5705) on :
 
Come to think of it, I'm not sure anymore what you're trying to prove here... Yes, we sometimes accept things from experts without checking them. Yes, sometimes we can be wrong about them. Yes, we take (and sometimes weigh) the risks when doing this. That is simply rational: if you're facing imminent death from an unknown disease you won't turn away the person who says he's a doctor and will save you. If waiting to check his credentials *will* get you dead and not checking his credentials *might* get you dead, you'll choose the later. I don't see a problem with that.
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
Tom does seem to see a problem with that, though. Or at least he seems to have a problem with it when it comes to religion. He's argued that it isn't rational to accept things from religious experts without checking them.

I'm saying that if that is truly the standard for rationality, it should apply just the same to everything, not just to religion. If we can't reasonably apply that standard to other facets of life, then it isn't a good standard for rationality.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
[QB]
quote:
Show me some evidence of God, evidence that actually meets evidentiary standards. I'll wait. Take all the time you like.
Whose standards? Show me some evidence of evolution that meets a creationist's standards. They can come up with "standards" to deny your evidence just as easily as you can come up with "standards" to deny mine. I just cited evidence that meets my standard for evidence.
But your standards for evidence are pathetic. Ignoring control groups will give you wrong answers.

quote:
The problem is that I strongly suspect your standards aren't consistent with how even you act in your life with anything other than religion.
No, the problem is that you are refusing to listen when people are telling you what standard are actually used. A belief that the sun will rise tommorow is not a decision based on faith, as you think it is. At least not as anyone else on this board uses the term. It is soundly based on evidence. I don't have to have the evidence right at my fingertips for it to be rational to believe it, all I have to know is that it was at some time at someone's fingertips, and that if I doubted this, I could get the same inforamtion myself at my own fingertips.

That standard works. It works very well.

You can't do this for religion. There's no hard evidence to go back to. Either the Muslims or the Mormons are wrong about who the last prophet of God is. What data could you possibly collect at your fingertips that would tell you which is right? What data could other people collect that their fingertips which would have the potential to prove your conclusion false?

quote:
If I say I saw "Up" this weekend and it is a good movie, most people I know will simply trust that I did actually see the movie and thus have some degree of expertise about it - I doubt most people would think rationality pevents them from accepting my review on the grounds that I am unable to prove that I went to the movie.
Sure they would trust you...in part becuase if you were lying, someone would detect it. The amount of trust is proportional to the ease with which you could be shown to be wrong.

quote:
Or if that's not subjective enough for you, if I go to the doctor and complain that I had a throat that hurt yesterday, the doctor is going to accept that I know what I felt; he's not going to say that rationally he can't believe me unless I am in some way able to prove that my throat actually felt sore.
I'm sorry, but when patients come in wanting prescription meds to treat their undectable ailments, doctors shouldn't just give in. 99 times out of a hundred, the guy with no detectable illness has no illness.

quote:
A rational person acts in a way that will give them the most benefits at the lowest cost. Accepting expert opinion allows us to gain knowledge without the extensive costs of researching it ourselves.
But the point is that the research was already done and externally verified. It doesn't matter that you yourself didn't do it, or even that the expert didn't do it, what matters is at the core, the expertise is supported by verifiable evidence.

How can you verify whom the last true prophet of God was?

quote:
A person who actually acted in the way you are suggesting would end up spending tons of time doing research, and yet ends up with fewer benefits because they are not allowed to trust anyone that they can't confirm with research.
This is absurd. Belief in the efficasy of vaccines, for example is already confirmed with research. Everyone can rely on the same research, once skeptics have checked it for errors.

quote:
There is a risk to this, since the knowledge is less confirmed, and you seem to be suggesting a rational person would choose the option with zero risk.
There is no such zero-risk option. It doesn't exist. No one is claiming that being rational is 100% infallible

But the rational path is right 99 times out of a hundred. The religious way? You've got a million religions with their so-called expertise, and they all disagree with each other. That means at best 999999 out of a million are wrong. Maybe all million are wrong.

So a 99% chance of being right, or at best a 0.000001% chance of being right. Sorry, but the former is the better choice.

[edited for misspellings]

[ June 08, 2009, 11:32 AM: Message edited by: swbarnes2 ]
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
Show me some evidence of God, evidence that actually meets evidentiary standards. I'll wait. Take all the time you like.
Whose standards?
Heh. Not very familiar with epistemology, are you?
 
Posted by Corwin (Member # 5705) on :
 
"Expertise", not "expertice". It hurts a bit every time you write it. [Wink]
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
Heh. Not very familiar with epistemology, are you?
Hmmmm.... well, I got an A in epistemology, but I suppose one would be free to reject that as valid evidence of anything too. [Wink]
 
Posted by MightyCow (Member # 9253) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Tom does seem to see a problem with that, though. Or at least he seems to have a problem with it when it comes to religion. He's argued that it isn't rational to accept things from religious experts without checking them.

I'm saying that if that is truly the standard for rationality, it should apply just the same to everything, not just to religion. If we can't reasonably apply that standard to other facets of life, then it isn't a good standard for rationality.

I'd say that almost all of us DO use that standard for every day things. If you walked into a restaurant with no chairs, and everyone just squatting, telling you that they were using invisible chairs, which you couldn't feel until you've been a member of the restaurant in good standing for many years, would you buy one of those invisible chairs, to practice (not)sitting on at home?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
A rational person acts in a way that will give them the most benefits at the lowest cost
This is not actually how I'd define "rational." Is it how you're defining "rational?"

Seriously, though...
Had you seen "Up" and then come to this forum to report that, now that you'd seen "Up," we were all required to give you fifty bucks and sleep with someone of your choice, we'd probably want a little more information.

If religion were a consequence-free decision, no one would care how the religious came by their beliefs.

As it stands, religions make multiple extraordinary claims to justify multiple demands, and can offer no reproducible evidence to validate the rationales given for those claims. If it really mattered to me whether or not you had seen "Up," there are ways to determine -- within reason -- that you have. If it didn't matter, there's certainly no cost to me to do you the courtesy of believing you -- unless of course I planned to have you give a presentation on the movie to a room full of my peers, in which case I'd probably want to get a plot summary from you at the very least.

This is another reason, by the way, that qualia don't actually exist. Things that matter matter in ways that can be detected. [Wink]
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
I'd say that almost all of us DO use that standard for every day things. If you walked into a restaurant with no chairs, and everyone just squatting, telling you that they were using invisible chairs, which you couldn't feel until you've been a member of the restaurant in good standing for many years, would you buy one of those invisible chairs, to practice (not)sitting on at home?
No, but only because I think I have plenty of evidence that invisible chairs don't exist.
On the other hand, if I walked into a restaurant where everyone was eating X, which looked disgusting to me, I might believe them if they all said that after trying X it would taste really good. Even if they had no demonstrable evidence to back that up.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
I'd say that almost all of us DO use that standard for every day things. If you walked into a restaurant with no chairs, and everyone just squatting, telling you that they were using invisible chairs, which you couldn't feel until you've been a member of the restaurant in good standing for many years, would you buy one of those invisible chairs, to practice (not)sitting on at home?
No, but only because I think I have plenty of evidence that invisible chairs don't exist.
But you wrote a long paragraph a few days ago about how you can never actually know that flu vaccines/elephant repellant/tiger stones don't work.

Here's the important quote:

"If I keep doing that and still nothing, then I'd be unable to answer the question because it will always be possible that vaccines can prevent diseases in some way other than how I tested it. I would never be able to show that vaccines can't prevent diseases."

So if you try and try to sit in the chairs, and still nothing, you are still unable to answer the question because it will always be possible that the chairs can be sat in in some way other than how you tested it. You can never prove that you can't sit in those chairs.

So why is it unreasonable to trust the expertise of the people who claim to be sitting in them? Why are invisible chairs less reasonable than, say, religous claims that one can talk to God?
 
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
 
quote:
This is not actually how I'd define "rational." Is it how you're defining "rational?"
I'm not sure if that's how I'd actually define the term, but I do think a person who is rational in making decisions would act that way.

quote:
If religion were a consequence-free decision, no one would care how the religious came by their beliefs.
This is true. That makes the risk of accepting religion great. But the risks of rejecting religion are also presumably great too. Imagine if knowing the quality of "Up" was a life or death decision either way - perhaps you have been imprisoned by a madman who wants to know if "Up" is a good movie. If you give him the wrong advice, he'll kill you. I'm imprisoned with you and so I'm the only person available for advice. I say I've seen it, but you can't tell for sure. Would you trust my advice at all? Or would you count my advice as no evidence whatsoever, and just make a guess instead?

quote:
This is another reason, by the way, that qualia don't actually exist. Things that matter matter in ways that can be detected.
If that were true, then technically qualia would be the ONLY thing that exists. Everything else is only detected through qualia. But that's another topic entirely.
 
Posted by MightyCow (Member # 9253) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
No, but only because I think I have plenty of evidence that invisible chairs don't exist.
On the other hand, if I walked into a restaurant where everyone was eating X, which looked disgusting to me, I might believe them if they all said that after trying X it would taste really good. Even if they had no demonstrable evidence to back that up.

Except that you can see the food and taste it for yourself, which gives you ample reason to believe that the food exists. You know in your own experience that some people enjoy foods that other people don't enjoy - that's just personal preference.

By your analogy, I accept that different churches do have different services, and that some people find one service more enjoyable than another. I can see them enjoying the service, even though it does not give me a feeling of joy, I accept that they are enjoying it.

Further, I accept that the people at the restaurant are enjoying their sensation of sitting. I just don't accept that they are actually using invisible chairs, and I won't buy one any more than you will. Just like I won't buy an invisible God without proof, even though I accept that people enjoy the process of talking to the God they believe is there.

quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Imagine if knowing the quality of "Up" was a life or death decision either way - perhaps you have been imprisoned by a madman who wants to know if "Up" is a good movie. If you give him the wrong advice, he'll kill you. I'm imprisoned with you and so I'm the only person available for advice.

For this analogy to work, there would have to be 100 people imprisoned with me, all of whom have completely different accounts of what "Up" is about, who voiced it, whether it's a cartoon or live action, whether or not it's based on a true story, if it's in color or black and white, and I have to guess which of those people is giving me the true version or the madman kills me.
 
Posted by swbarnes2 (Member # 10225) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Imagine if knowing the quality of "Up" was a life or death decision either way - perhaps you have been imprisoned by a madman who wants to know if "Up" is a good movie. If you give him the wrong advice, he'll kill you. I'm imprisoned with you and so I'm the only person available for advice. I say I've seen it, but you can't tell for sure. Would you trust my advice at all? Or would you count my advice as no evidence whatsoever, and just make a guess instead?

There really isn't an objective way to measure the quality of a movie. If your cellmate is going to kill you for your opinion, well, religious people have been burning each other over their opinions for centuries, so you'll probably get a better death than those guys and gals.

If one had to make a life or death decision based on the plot of the movie, the best thing to do would be to see the movie. If you didn't have time, you would find someone's blog, a blog that allows unrestricted comments, where the blogger answers your question. If the blog is well visited, you can be sure that there are Up viewers reading it, and they would have mentioned if the blogger were wrong. That's your best chance; it's not 100%, but nothing is. Your best chance for being right is to believe things that have been scrutinized by critics. If the critics failed to falsify the claim, the claim is probably right.

Of course, the thing about the movies is that there is a right anwer to a question about the plot. You can watch the movie. You can read the script. Maybe the answer is "it's ambiguous", but the evidence is all there, and everyone can agree on what the text of the movie is.

You don't have that agreement with religion. Someone says it's a life or death question, but you can't even verify that there was such a movie created. It's not playing anywhere, and there is no script. Lots of people claim to have seen it, but they all disagree violently about what it was about.

So if your cell mate says "If KooKoo the parrot concealed the Wicket of Morality from the Ubuntu tribesman in the movie 'Wickets for Wally', then slitting your wrists and bleeding to almost to death is the only way to earn your freedom", then I think the answer pretty clearly is "No thanks, I'm not going to do that on your say-so", not "Well, your say-so is better than nothing, where's the razor?"
 


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