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i seriously think this is getting out of hands, i mean for real, i was pert enough to answer according to my knowledge limits till some time ago but its getting useless here.
for one i doubt atheism or agnosticism is a religion and mostly what you guys are posting are opinions which the prior discussion points out you guys dont want to change. So its thread of religious QA you guys should name it sth abt falsifying the religion thread or sth. I mean so far i havent come across any question about islam so i seriously feel that its not serving the purpose at all.
Questions about islam...well I'm sorry there aren't many, but if I'm interested in Islam, then I will just grab a book and read about it, sorry...
Culture is an evolutionary strategy, and values must be judged by the consequences of the kind of behaviours they encourage.
It doesn't matter wether the belief is religious or secular, and indeed, students of the history of religion often speak of the religious nature of secular thought. Nor is there a difference between religious and secular thinking at the neurophysiological level. I posted this to someone elses blog a while ago but the blog owner didn't find it relevant enough to post. It contains some material that might be relevant here.
I think its worth asking what religious and secular ethics even mean in the first place, when students of religion cannot even define the religious and the secular as different categories that can be usefully applied across all cultures. (In a similar way, students of comparative philosophy have similar hermaneutic problems when they try to apply labels of culture-specific origin such as epistemology to other societies.) Secondly there exists the bigger problem that students of comparative religion such as Mircea Eliade have demonstrated the presence of mythological and 'religious' thinking within mainstream 'secular' thought such as Marxism, American patriotism and also Neitzsche's ideal of the Superman which has been interpreted as a justification of present action on its not-yet-present behalf. Indeed, it has also been said that all of modern secular politics represents socioeconomic messianism of some kind of another.
In keeping with the observations that there is no objective difference between the religious and the secular, is that there exist no specific parts of the brain that have an exclusively 'religious' or 'secular' functioning. Indeed, there is evidence that the differences in brain structure that separate liberals from conservatives in an American context are of more importance than those separating religious and secular thought, although Conservatives are more likely to be religious.
As for the rationality of atheistic or secular morality, we should be careful to remember that moral values are not components of phenomena themselves, but are merely products of the observers own cognition and therefore exist only in perception. Moral judgments therefore constitute mistaken attempts to describe the nature of phenomena, and there can be no moral knowledge because the word 'knowledge' implies an understanding of the actual nature of phenomena, rather than unsubstantiated perceptions of them. But in spite of the irrefutable logic of error theory, most atheists and other self proclaimed 'rationalists' are not meta-ethical nihilists. It is like people will refute illogic they don't like and then keep clinging to the rest.
This observation actually relates to my first observation, because of course in Western bioethics there is an obsession with 'conciousness' and 'personhood' that can trace its origins to the Christian and especially Protestant ideal of the individual soul, so that the ideal of finding a point in human ontology when a fetus becomes a 'human being' based upon awareness is nothing more than a secular revaluation of the rationally refuted concept of quickening. Likewise most secularists are moral universalists, who support Enlightenment concepts such as human rights and merely disagree between themselves about the proper way to achieve a goal of universal suffrage, but this moral universalism is a part of their culture-specific Christian heritage.
New Atheists like to claim that religion is a costly spandrel or a mind-virus (although they have to justify this position by resorting to selection bias). And politicised secularists actually make one-sided, moralistic arguments against the historical 'crimes' of religion so frequently, that their ridiculous claims that religion is purely costly and harmful (despite being so successful for centuries!) are obviously an example of the 'ought-is' or moralistic logical fallacy.
But it is through morals that religion (and other ideologies) control people. What if the capacity for moral judgement itself is a useless and costly spandrel? Many of the 'crimes' that were perpetrated by organised religions or that were justified using religious arguments, were ultimately in the genetic self-interest of the perpetrator.
We should remember that according to Satoshi Kanazawa, the secular left are more likely than the religious right to argue using the moralistic fallacy, as can be seen by their reliance upon accusations involving -isms and -phobias, as well as the leftist nature of the 'sociobiology wars' etc.
We should also remember that to appeal to novelty is a logical fallacy, just as is appeal to tradition. And the widespread secular support for policies such as pro-choice and gay marriage is obviously based on the appeal of novelty, given how few of the average policy-supporters actually understand the issues in question. Far from being proof of secular rationality, the fact that certain political positions are so popular among secularists who haven't considered the issues actually confirms that the average secularist is a herd animal, who is either incapable of making his own decisions about social issues or is too spineless to go against the herd so he still follows it anyway, even if it takes him off the side of a cliff. In other words, secularists are vulnerable to the same forms of social control as the religious are.
Although secular ethics are almost always universalist, I notice that secular types prefer to ignore inconvenient universals, such as the universality of some kind of family values, that all cultures associate womanhood with childbirth and childrearing, or that heterosexual marriage is universal whilst homosexual marriage is not. Of course conservative ethics are frequently nonsensical, but so are moralistic, secular statements such as "marriage is about love, not the family!" and "women do not exist simply to have babies", once one takes into account the implications of sociobiology for humans, or of functionalism in anthropology.
Despite the efforts of secular humanists to dismiss matters of sex as socially irrelevant, the fact is that all cultures possess taboos and laws about sexual behaviour that universally support the heterosexual family. In ancient Greece homosexuality was widely practiced, tolerated and according to correct social context, encouraged. Yet these men were still expected to have heterosexual families, and homosexual marriage was unheard of. I shouldn't need to point out the biological explanation why heterosexuality alone was favoured in Greek marriage customs, or why some cultures have completely condemned and persecuted homosexuals with no ill-effect to the survival of the group at large, although no cultures have ever persecuted heterosexuals in the same way. Of course matters of sexual behaviour are not socially irrelevant, and anyone who thinks that they are, is extremely ignorant of anthropology.
Another logical fallacy is the 'fallacists fallacy', which is the fallacy by which things are considered to be irrational because they have been rationalised. But humans always rationalise things, and all that matters is the usefulness of the rationalisation in promoting behaviour. As cultural beliefs are subject to natural selection, it is not the rationalisation itself but its outcomes that must be judged as rational, and religious taboos and preferences that are widely practiced across cultures and over centuries are therefore tried and tested as practical. In contrast to this vast body of accumulated practical experience, much of secular ethics comes accross as children throwing toys out of their pram.
Last edited by faintsmile1992; December 24, 2011 at 03:13 AM.
Discuss this quote which demonstrates the nature of belief (here labelled as 'religion' because hesterton's Christian religion demands faith) as opposed to the nature of superstition, and reflects that religion can't be reduced to any one psychological impulse.
"Sane peasants, healthy hunters, are all superstitious; they are superstitious because they are healthy and sane. They have a reasonable fear of the unknown; for superstition is only the creative side of agnosticism. The superstitious man sees quite plainly that the universe is a thing to be feared. The religious man maintains paradoxically that the universe is a thing to be trusted." - GK Chesterton
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Ultimately the people proclaiming ideologies that they claim are based upon respect and tolerance towards others as equals, are in reality motivated by feelings of resentment and by the self-interested Will to Power, just like everyone else.
Secular humanism is just the sklavenmoral aspect of Christianity with a new, superficially rational mask, and is yet deeply irrational.
Last edited by faintsmile1992; December 24, 2011 at 02:49 AM.
As far as culture is concern, I believe that a culture of a group of people didn't intend itself to be an evolutionary strategy but moreso the exhibited characteristics of a community as a whole. But, the importance of culture being strategic might come into play when there is an intentional goal such as world domination or survival. That is where self-identification at an individual level is crucial either to the success of a group of people or the demise of a group of people.
Perhaps you also misunderstand the Quran too when you wrote about absolute morality and law. Perhaps you misunderstood the value that is in other religions. There is a universal teaching which is the Golden rule: do unto others what you would want done unto you. That is the basis of the law and teachings of most religions. You see, there has always been problems with absolute morality and law. They aren't fulfilling, people run into the dangers of becoming a hypocrite and pride and lastly, they were always abused by people. Since you are a person of the Book also, learn from the Jews and even Christians: don't let being a follow of God go to your head.
The basis of the law and morality is love, and if you don't understand that, I'm afraid you missed it. It wasn't so much about the do's and don'ts. It was the application of the do's and don'ts in the context of love. If it's all about love, then it also should be about healthy and positive relationships. If it's about relationship, clearly God wants to establish a relationship with you. If you can't even get passed that, you missed the entire reason why God has been so merciful and is not God so very merciful?
And if culture is an innate human universal it won't be a planned strategy, however it functions to promote the survival of the culture-bearers. Culture can be understood in the value neutral terms as the rest of human (and animal) behaviour.
a. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
b. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
c. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.
d. The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.
The first two definitions of culture can be studied as aspects of the fourth, which can be understood (as all animal behaviour can) in Darwinian terms, and its study can be compartmentalized according to the third definition.
What've I said that's heresies and conjectures?Quote:
There's nothing wrong with reductionism, and there's a lot of evidence that SIT is accurate. If it is, then it has a neurological basis to it.Quote:
That Chesterton quote is a steaming pile of horseshit too. Superstition and religion are not even roughly analogous. They do not even fulfill the same mental role. At the risk of sounding agnostic, religion centers around belief that there is a higher purpose to the world indiscernible to the human mind and beyond day to day experience. It is an attempt to grapple with the many unknowns unknown. Faith is the operative quality a religion asks of it's followers. And faith is a truly beautiful quality to have as daily life demands faith, even if we do not know it. In most sense religion and science are analogous as each is an attempt to explain the world. And those who believe that science does not demand faith surely have not studied astrophysics. To compare a subject as complex and thought provoking as religion to something as mundane as not spilling salt or walking under a ladder is ridiculous. And ignorant. Whether one believes or not, religion is an incredibly intellectual pursuit. Religious study, including revisionist religion (a fascinating subject) makes for excellent mental exercise. I recommend everyone read the Tao Te Ching and really spend some time trying to decipher it. A single sentence contains more wisdom than a library filled with Chesterton quotes.
Last edited by Kaiten; January 29, 2012 at 03:21 PM.
And why is that good in itself? In theological terms its the sin of sloth, in Nietzschean terms its nihilism.Quote:
Try reading the quote again, he's arguing that religion isn't the same thing as superstition.Quote:
How exactly does daily life demand faith?Quote:
The problem with this world, and religion, isn't that people think they're right, but idiots think they're right. With idiots, they'll attack your ideas and even you personally and claim their way is right and in most cases end up contradicting themselves.
The major argument I see for Big Bang is this: it couldn't have just happened, something had to have created it. But then, what about god? I don't care how omniscient he is, he must have been created out of something if Big Bang needed to happen out of something. You cannot debunk Big Bang without debunking god because both cannot be explained as to how they came about without sounding illogical.
One thing that kind of scares me is that religious people say they need faith to live and ask people like me how we can live when we don't believe in god. I don't need to be loved by a higherup who'll send me to hell for not blowing him, all I want to do is live my own way. I don't need someone else to tell me my purpose in life. Our purpose is as we make it, not what we think god makes it.
Problem with tolerance is that people want others to see things their way. People want to think they're right, so they tend not to mind their own business and bully others into agreeing with them. As Kaiten so eloquently said, we can have tolerance if people mind their own "fucking" business, which majority won't do. Go up to a random stranger, ask him his religion, and then say you're an atheist if he's a theist. Chances are he'll say "why? god exists!" and might try to convince you to become religious or believe in god. Though, people sometimes might not mind their own business because they're truly curious as to how someone can live the way they do.
As a framework (not moral absolutes), religion is good for the individual and for the group, because it provides people with positive values and creates harmony by standards to live by. When people use faith as a crutch, however, its a sign of weakness. The benefits of religion are nothing to do with whether God exists, but the human behaviours it encourages.
Difference between religion and faith is immense. I have faith but I don't belong to a religious group as religion in my opinion restricts ones opinion in a field where imagination and belief is the foundation for ones faith.
Besides, isn't it culture that influences the human behavior? Though nowadays, it is hard to separate both as culture tends to be centered around religion.