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Interesting bit of vandalism recently[edit]

I've just reverted this bit of vandalism by a very entertaining Second Coming conspiracy nut. I took particular interest in the very first line of one of his blogs linked in the edit:

FOR OVER A YEAR NOW, I have emailed members of the clergy, the press, scholars, and government employees all over the world; nearly every single day.

If you're a government employee, a scholar, or a press drone, then Adam Marshall Dobrin (yes, he even [[in-wiki linked]] his name for us, though it's a redlink at the moment) is one of those people. Clogging the most important inboxes in the world, all because he's so cock-sure he's on to something. Inboxes that, despite their importance, do not always have the time (or money) to sort out the sheer number of crazies targetting them (vindictively or not) from the coherent correspondences. ~ ❤️ 21:56, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

A question on how religious belief endures[edit]

Do pardon my rambling here, as I want to try answering my own question in the hopes of getting a discussion going.

I was wondering, is there something about religion specifically that allows it to capture people's hearts and minds more effectively than more secular and rationalistic beliefs? My first instinct is that it is better able to appeal to the less rational elements of the human mind in addition to fostering an ingroup mentality, but sometimes I think it may be because religious beliefs are made in a way that they allow people to feel like part of something greater than themselves and the observable universe without forcing them to confront their insignificance in the greater scheme of things by doing so (as more secular belief systems might require). As the article states, it's likely that some also find things like secular humanism to be too mundane and banal to qualify as a "higher purpose", or that by its very nature it cannot answer questions such as "Why are we here?" or "What happens to consiousness after death?"

But all of that, along with the obvious use of religion as a form of social control whose effectiveness has not yet faded, is still not enough to explain why it's lasted as long as it has. What do the people here think might help explain that? -- (talk) 22:28, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

From all that I've heard, seen, and read, it's peer pressure. More precisely it's a self perpetuating cycle of peer pressure reinforced by multiple factors including its usage as a control mechanism as well as plain old ignorance, stupidity, and duplicity. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 22:41, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
A slight addition to my last post, as secularism does provide answers to these questions, it's just that most theists don't like said answers. "Why are we here?" Because you logged into your computer and went through the process of interacting with this website, and the rest of us did the same or similar. Because life formed, and that's pretty much it. "What happens to consiousness after death?" Nothing, as far as all current evidence indicates, the mind/soul dies when the brain does. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 22:46, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
If I might play devil's advocate, I could say that just because we can't see what's going on from our end doesn't mean it's not possible that there is something of consciousness that remains somehow, and "because life formed" just pushes the question back without actually answering it. Unfortunately, the only way to know the former for certain would render us incapable of communicating the answer. For that reason, I think secularism might be better served by admitting we don't know for sure yet.
All that aside, it can't be entirely counterproductive, otherwise it would have long since died off on its own a long time ago. There must be some kind of benefit it provides that secularism is not yet able to match. -- (talk) 15:09, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
Dear IP, to say that consciousness emerged "because life formed" is a perfectly legitimate answer; there is nothing wrong with pushing the answer back as long as it is not an infinite regress. We have known for a couple centuries that life is a series of complex chemical reactions. (The successful synthesis of certain chemicals found in urine, which gave birth to organic chemistry, led to the realization that there is fundamentally no difference between organic and non-organic matter.) Today, biologists and chemists continue to investigate the origins of life. As I mentioned below, consciousness is an emergent property of sufficiently complex living things.
If you look at global trends, the most prosperous and tolerant societies tend to be the least religious. I think this gives you the answer to the question of what makes religion so enduring. Nerd (talk) 18:00, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
@Nerd@ Let me be blunt, since that seems to be the only way to get through to most theists. Theism makes claims about reality that it cannot support with evidence and then, when called out on that lack of evidence, claims "Oh, well it could be true!!" Hurray!! It could be true, and my farts could be magical but, since there is no evidence to believe that my farts are magical, it makes sense to assume that my farts are not in fact magical. The idea that lack of evidence to the contrary is a valid reason for believing something without any evidence to support said belief is simply childish attempts to cling to something after it has been proven to lack any sufficient basis in reality. In short it is childish and stupid, try again, this time with actual evidence for Theistic claims. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 18:21, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
@GrammarCommie Good post!. Your explanation goes well with what I call a "useless hypothesis" below. If something does not help us better the question or topic at hand, why bother? Nerd (talk) 18:30, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
@GrammarCommieThat is fair enough; as I said, I was merely playing devil's advocate and not stating my actual beliefs (which are, for what it is worth, that it is an unanswerable question that may ultimately be beyond the scope of human knowledge; we can learn how life formed, but that is an entirely different question as to why it formed).
@Nerd I am aware of that, but the implication that religion exists only because people are ignorant of modern science sounds too simple and condescending to explain the matter, let alone why people in more prosperous and tolerant societies are religious at all when in every other way they are comparatively rational. Perhaps it is better able to appeal to the irrational aspects of humanity which we are all too aware of? (This is the same IP from earlier, posting from a different location.)-- (talk) 14:00, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
"that it is an unanswerable question that may ultimately be beyond the scope of human knowledge; we can learn how life formed, but that is an entirely different question as to why it formed" Why did life form? Because conditions conducive to life occurred. That's it, the end, nothing more than that. The idea that there's some inherent purpose to life and existence is so utterly egocentric and naive as to be childish. We have no evidence to indicate such, therefore, we have no reason to believe that it is possible, let alone probable, let alone that such is indeed the case.
On the subject of religion, Theism exists because primitive people were ignorant of the world around them and came up with simplistic explanations to the phenomena they encounted, this then self perpetuated via a concept known as tradition, which itself is a combination of various social interactions. The reason it still endures to this day is not because Theists are right in some way, nor because there is anything to Theism beyond mere self replicating ignorance, but simply because most people do not wish to think for themselves, to think critically and logically, or to actually examine the facts. They have been taught by their leaders to mindlessly parrot ignorant drivel that is simply not useful. The same is true for political ideologies, most of the base knows little to nothing of the subject at hand. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 15:49, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
@GrammarCommie I will drop the questions about meaning, but only with the caveat that the search for meaning is deeply embedded in the human psyche and that not everyone takes well to being told that their existence is meaningless. In any case, what about people who show that they can think critically and logically in most cases but have a blind spot only for religion (e.g. the religious scientists who actually exist as opposed to being names on a list, or the people who in every other respect besides their theism are rational)? It seems equally naive to simply brush off the question with something along the lines of "because they are all stupid sheeple who can't question what they are told". (I know this is not actually what you said, but the general gist of it is disturbingly similar.) Surely there must be psychological factors at play as well, and in the case of the otherwise rational people it is likely a significant factor as to why they stay religious.
My intent here is to figure out how secularism can increase its appeal to a level on par with religion, and if such a thing is possible how it might be done. (Obviously better education will work, but that is not always viable, especially in countries with poor infrastructure.) If you think I am somehow trying to undermine your own beliefs by looking for explanations for why an otherwise archaic series of traditions has lasted for thousands of years, you are mistaken; if you must know I am an ignostic with elements of agnosticism, and have absolutely no reason to change your mind about your views on religion. While I would like to continue discussing this, I would prefer if we focus more on the subject about why religion continues to appeal to people in the modern age rather than on any religion's truth value, where we must agree to disagree should we not wish to come to an impasse. (Still the same IP as before. I am refraining from making an account for personal reasons, but will do so if that would make this easier on you.)-- (talk) 00:18, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
Nothing can replace the supernatural elements of Theism outside of other such poorly thought out ideas. As for Scientists who hold religious views, there is indeed a difference between what I said and what you took it to mean. If a claim is taught to children who cannot critically evaluate it, and it is taught repeatedly throughout multiple generations as part of what we call culture and tradition, then people will not give it a second thought no matter how poor the reasoning behind it. To give a few examples of ignorant ideas that continue despite poor reasoning behind them: Antisemitism, founded partly on the idea that the Jewish people in their entirety were responsible for the death of Jesus. Think about that, based on that logic a newborn Jewish child who wasn't even alive when the act supposedly occurred would be just as guilty as the ones who were actually accused of the same act. How barbarous!!! Imagine if we applied this reasoning to our legal system! Such a system would encourage dishonesty and coverups, rather than being assumed innocent until proven guilty!! Then of course there is racism, the idea that your skin color somehow makes you an entirely different creature from those who lack the same coloration. Just think about that for second or two. How much sense does that really make? How many people within the same "race" have enough variation to make such a claim meaningless? Why simply stop at skin color? Why not eye color? Hair color and/or length? Height? Where does it endWikipedia? Finally, if you are unwilling to discuss the matter of whether theism has met it's burden of proof or not then this entire thread is moot. From what I have seen, it has not, and as an Antitheist I would venture that many of the ideas it has put forward are as impossible as attempting to square a circle, and any unwillingness to enter this realm of discussion will taint the conversation with dishonesty. In summery, we cannot have an honest discussion about the persistence of theism without discussing the merits or lack thereof for belief in same. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 12:31, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
@GrammarCommie I think I understand where you are coming from better now, and indeed I now see we were talking at cross-purposes. Maybe I am simply being overly pragmatic in trying to find which elements of religion could be integrated into secularism to let it spread better, or perhaps my aim itself is misguided. While I would like to hear the thoughts of others as well, I will let this go for the time being. -- (talk) 16:13, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
P.S.: I've made an account now so just ping me if you want to continue. --Logos (talk) 16:34, 21 October 2018 (UTC)
@GrammarCommie Spelling, Comrade!
I find the notion of a soul rather problematic. If souls are immortal and are waiting in the void to fuse with a new person, are souls created, or is their number conserved? If they are created, what or who creates them? And what or who creates that entity? It appears we reach an infinite chain here. I agree with GrammarCommie that there exists no evidence for the existence of soul, nor is the soul a useful hypothesis. It is as useful as postulating the existence of God. As for consciousness, it is an emergent property of sufficiently complex living systems.
Oh, and Paul Dirac has a great quote on religion. Nerd (talk) 23:01, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

Nonpersonocratic metaphysics[edit]

All religions are false attributing to values, purposes and parts of the definition of personhood, and there is a gradience of this biasing degree. 1. Some religions are explicitly personocratic/personocentric having on their core a single supposedly self-evident, precosmic, cosmogonic and omnicontrolling person (bearer of personhood). 2. Other religions are less personocratic having nonprecosmic, noncentral, noncosmogonic, nonomnicontrolling gods, which might be presented vague in their essence, autistic and missing components of personhood (see: Mary Anne Warren - the criteria for personhood, see: kami). 3. Other religions are atheistic, without a person-god, but still being spiritualistic and supernaturalistic. These are the religions that recognise only an impersonal divine field, still biasedly false attributing to values, purposes and parts of the definition of personhood, ascribed as attributes of any possible cosmos (physical or immaterial).

The other option is physicalism. The analytical evolution of scientific answers to any metaphysical question. There are two ways of completing and correcting the scientific view on reality. 1. observational data; and their corrections, 2. mathematical proofs; but the proofs have to be causally linked and metalogically deep; not based on arbitrary axiomaticity. Also corrections and improvements on reasoning are totally necessary in science.

The archaic metaphysical question gradually evolves:

1. Religion or Science?

2. Metaphysical personocracy of any degree (religion) or science/physicalism/physiocracy (probabilistic events within the natural laws, which have to be elaborated at the deepest causal level as a connectome usually of conditional probability)? [that conditional nonaxiomatic connectome is necessary in theories without the magical person-god; otherwise it's necessary within god; it cannot be avoided]

3. Is the connectome of the component-notions of personhood more fundamental (nonaxiomatic self-sufficient to describe reality at the causal level) than the connectome of the component-notions of physics?

4. Does this metaphysical question on the degrees of personocracy make sense, or is it a personocratic question created by bearers of personhood (persons)? The hardest part in questioning is to form unbiased questions. Biased questions increase the likelihood of biased answers. The components of the definition of personhood aren't cosmically fundamental, nor cosmogonic. The component theories of physics certainly are. Humans are persons and most of them have a preference for personocratic metaphysics. Liking isn't a criterion for truth.

Some people claim that religion is compatible with science; because the universe can be in tandem pro-personhood biased, explicitly or implicitly, having values, purposes and parts or fulfilling the full definition of and criteria for personhood to its causal mechanics; but (the universe can be in tandem) totally impersonal and mathematically accessible without personocratic purpose. Well... actually these people aren't analytical enough to expose their own fallacy. — Unsigned, by: 2a02:587:410b:4370:35c3:4ce1:65a7:6b8d / talk / contribs

Is Religion better defined by practices than by beliefs[edit]

Over in Evil is the absence of God's talk page, a thread turned to whether "God" and "evil" are purely religious terms/ideas. That is leading to how we should define religion.

@Bob M, Nowadays, I define religion as: "Given a belief that there is a divide between the natural and supernatural world (be it salvation in heaven, nirvana, reincarnation as a higher form or what-have-you) religion is the set of practices that allow us to build a bridge between that natural and supernatural world." I disagree with the dictionary (and rationalwiki's) definition of religion which is essentially "A belief about the cause, purpose, and nature of humanity and/or of the universe" since that definition encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. What is your definition of religion? --Bertrc (talk) 23:17, 2 November 2020 (UTC)

Seriously? Nobody? Ah, well. Perhaps I am the only one who sees the irony of this article's intro paragraph, which defines religion to be based on beliefs, rather than practices. That definition can apply just as easily to atheism. --Bertrc (talk) 22:05, 2 September 2021 (UTC)

Several proposed edits[edit]

I was before I made this account. Noir told me to bring "the issue" here, and now I realize I don't really know what they meant by "the issue". So I will list all my proposed edits and assume "the issue" refers to one or more of these.

  • adding a period after "Religions are just verified cults"
  • re-organizing the paragraphs in the religion and science section (the last paragraph looks like a summary that should be the first paragraph, fundamentalism should be a sub-section of anti-science attitudes, etc.)
  • removing the quote in the religion and science section (because it's not science-related at all)
  • adding Roger Bacon to the science-friendly attitudes section
  • adding a "Examples of religion-friendly attitudes within science" section that includes studies claiming that religious people are more likely to use science or live longer (maybe I should write "studies" or "findings" instead of "attitudes"?)

How many of these edits should I make? In order to avoid confirmation bias, should we list specific examples of anti-religion findings in science? These would ideally be about the religions themselves or the people who practice them, instead of examples of religious beliefs, because this website already has plenty of specific examples of science debunking religious beliefs. Breeze1 (talk) 17:11, 3 August 2021 (UTC)

Ok, so, I should kind of explain myself. When I first saw the Edit Summary/Justification of "why are there atheist quotes on the religion page?", noticed it was from an IP editor, and saw both the removal of the Hitchens quote and what ostensibly looked like large number of changes in the IS/WAS to a rather prominent page, I assumed it had been a drive-by edit made by an ideologue. I think I owe you an apology for jumping the gun on this, so, I'm sincerely sorry about that.
Given this is a Starred and prominent article and @GrammarCommie also did a revert, I'd probably ask their thoughts before going through with the changes. ℕoir LeSable (talk) 18:39, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
Sorry, to clarify: the major changes -- spelling/grammar/punctuation corrections are cool. ℕoir LeSable (talk) 19:41, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
My main problem is the over-reliance on NOMA. If it exists in material reality and can be measured, tested, or otherwise engaged with, it's the domain of science. Religion is a series of cultural constructs that ultimately have no empirical evidence behind them. If you want to be religious, that's fine I guess, but stuff like NOMA is just ducking the issue. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 20:37, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
Also, a lot of the religion vs science stuff is the product of 2000s-early 2010s American politics, when fundamentalist Christianity was on an uptick. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 20:41, 3 August 2021 (UTC)
Can you explain why my additions over-rely on NOMA or "duck the issue"? Roger Bacon's work is historical fact, and those two conclusions were both based on observing and measuring material reality. (also I did in fact make a second account because I forgot Breeze1's password) Breeze01 (talk) 15:12, 4 August 2021 (UTC)

Bronze Brainstar[edit]

So the guidelines for Bronze according to the article rating guide are actually quite a low bar; it doesn't mention the thoroughness or quality of the references until Silver -- just that at least some appropriate references are present. Is promotion to starless appropriate? ℕoir LeSable (talk) 00:14, 16 January 2022 (UTC)

As the person who put it on, yes. @Noir LeSable, as I would not even consider Wikipedia references appropriate. --Andrew5 (talk) 00:25, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
What I'm saying is, one or two Wikipedia refs is ok even on a gold, but having 60% of them is enough of an issue for it to be bronze. It is pretty easy to fix, and I would not object to a re-bronze if two-thirds of them are removed. I'm busy right now with Microwave, though. --Andrew5 (talk) 00:27, 16 January 2022 (UTC)