From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Icon religion.svg

This Religion related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

This page is automatically archived by Archiver
Archives for this talk page: <1>

Cherry picking[edit]

I also put back

this frequently involves cherry picking some aspects of science and rejecting others, see Criticisms of NOMA.

Below is the section from the article on NOMA WITH THE SUBTITLE, "Criticisms of NOMA" so readers can see how Cherry picking is involved.

Criticisms of NOMA[edit]

Problems with empirical investigation[edit]

In practice, NOMA is sometimes used as an excuse to try to make religious doctrines totally immune from examination. Religious individuals often feel that statements concerning empirical reality - such as the theory of evolution - that conflict with literal readings of religious work are overstepping the "bounds" proposed by NOMA. This is a little strange, because according to the doctrine, religion should never have made statements about reality that science could look at in the first place. Still, this often leads to NOMA being more of a "one-way street" in the sense that science is not allowed to examine miracles or prayer or not to conduct any research that would have a detrimental effect on people's ideas about divine intervention.

Where science has looked at the specific claims made and adhered to by Biblical literalists, such as the views regarding the origin of life, cosmology and so on, it has easily disproved the versions seen in the Bible. When such research has been done, NOMA-like views have been used to justify ignoring evidence that doesn't fit the religious worldview - this is the basic stance taken by Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International when dismissing hard evidence. Regarding the famously negative prayer studies it is often questioned whether religious persons would maintain their NOMA stance should the result have been positive; if NOMA says that science can't disprove religious ideas, then it certainly can't provide evidence for them.

Problems with ethics[edit]

Treating "sacred texts" that are clearly flawed in their understanding of the physical universe as unquestionable guides to morality is clearly inconsistent. Ethics without Religion avoids problems with Bronze Age and Iron Age religious texts. Advocates of NOMA - particularly religious ones - don't afford the same protection to scientific methods to be free from religious input, as such views are still allowed to comment on policies relating to scientific ethics, and essentially having a say on what science can and can't study legally. Issues such as stem cell research show a potential conflict.[1]

Materialist critics[edit]

The system itself has met with some resistance and harsh criticisms from figures such as Richard Dawkins (who suggests that Gould was straining to be apologetic when he proposed it), PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne and numerous other from the new atheist movement. These critics propose that questions such as the existence of God can be tested just like any other material hypothesis and that, in principle, even things that are "outside our universe" are still within the grasp of human understanding and the scientific method.[2]

This is because most proposed gods' alleged effects on the material world are, of course, material, and can be studied much in the same way that all science really just detects real-world cause and effect relationships. In this sense, critics reject the "non-overlapping" aspect of the two magisteria and conclude that if the two genuinely didn't overlap, supernatural entities would have no effect on the real world and thus their existence, or not, is a moot point.

Further archaeologists and historians are able to study the religious texts of Christianity and other religions and give findings about how reliable or unreliable these texts are.

Another critic of NOMA is Thomas Nagel, who is critical of Dawkins, but agrees with him in dismissing the concept.[3] Proxima Centauri (talk) 09:06, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Criticism of NOMA are valid. on noma's page. not on a page about *religion*.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 17:38, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
  2. See Victor Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis for a comprehensive examination of this approach.
  3. The Fear of Religion, Thomas Nagel, The New Republic

Noma & "some religions"[edit]

The items that were removed "Noma requires some cherry picking", and "some religions have no dogma" were removed because they are superfluous to this article. Noma criticism, which may be highly valid, go on the noma page, not here. The discussion of "dogam" makes no sense in the larger context of "the extent to which each religion has the above, varies". We are not talking about dogma alone, since dogma is not a defining aspect of religion. This is a high or higher value article. keeping it from reading like cluttered crap is worthwhile.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 17:35, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

'Some religions have no dogma' was removed because it does not agree with your definition of religion. Buddha said 'I cannot explain to you.. I only point the way'. Just because this site is dominated by the view that religion = monotheistic dogma (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) and ignores Hinduism, Buddhist and Taoist views. There is a whole world out there beyond your narrow ignorant viewpoint. (talk) 15:44, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Arguments against Buddhism?[edit]

Being a " rotten and strident " antireligious atheist, i think we need to sort the things out with buddhism. Apart from being similar in ethical teachings with other philosophies, and being mostly nontheistic...what do you think are the best arguments against it?

Here are the buddhists against atheists (i'm talking about materialist atheists here).

I think the strongest objection is the fact that science nowhere found out spiritual elements or needs them to explain the mind, the body, and the universe at all.

What do you think are the objections to their objections? Ahah

Obviously other rotten materialists should answer this question. Gianga23 (talk) 10:36, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

I had to stop reading that website when it hit three strikes. One of those was "non-ironic use of Comic Sans". Scarlet A.pngDon't click here 10:45, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

I'd like to know some serious scientific opinion on this part

Transcendental and religious experiences are the result of the disordered functioning of the brain. People get spiritual experiences under the influence of electromagnetic fields such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and from psychedelic drugs such as mescalin, LSD, Psilocybe semilanceata and Amanita muscaria. All these transpersonal experiences are simply delusions caused by disruption of the normal electrochemical activity of the neurones.

Yes and No. There's no doubt that people experience other realms of reality under the influence of TMS or hallucinogenic drugs. In these conditions the functioning of the brain is indeed abnormal.

But - you've got to ask yourself - what is the purpose of the normal functioning of the brain?

The brain hasn't evolved to represent ultimate reality to the mind. The brain is a device which has evolved by selection of the fittest (not the most truthful) to project the delusion of the inherently-existing self onto the mind. This delusion of a permanent, unchanging self is 'imputed' over the ever-changing transitory collection of biochemical building blocks that makes up the physical aspects of a sentient being.

These biochemical building blocks are brought together by a loose temporary alliance of selfish genes. This alliance comes into existence at conception and ends at death. When the brain is functioning *correctly*, it is acting in the best interests of the alliance.

The brain is the alliance's propaganda machine, and it is constantly exhorting the mind to:

" Preserve ME ! Reproduce ME ! "

This is the psychological mechanism that gets hijacked by memes. The memetic propaganda spiel then becomes:

" Preserve MEME ! Reproduce MEME ! "

The correct functioning of the propaganda machine is obviously necessary for the preservation and procreation of the species. However, to perform its function the brain needs to project a distorted view of the self onto the mind.

Disruption of this ceaseless barrage of ME-ME propaganda, by biochemical or biophysical agents, enables the mind to temporarily push the doors of perception ajar and peek beyond mundane biologically-determined appearances.

However, the only way to open the doors completely and permanently is through meditation.

The use of hallucinogenic fungal secondary metabolites for religious purposes (ethnomycology), although common in Shamanism, is deprecated in most (all?) traditions of Buddhism.

Gianga23 (talk) 11:21, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

NDES, etc are well explained if the religious bother to look.

Best argument against buddism - its not true its fake, its false, some of the teachings/way of life etc are and can be true(as any moral question/stance) but the religious is all false and alot of the rest aswell.--Whocares001 (talk) 05:11, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Chicken then the egg?[edit]

"A religion is a systematic set of beliefs, rituals and codifications of behaviour that revolves around a particular group's worldview "

A Worldview is a systematic set of beliefs, rituals and codifications of behaviour that revolves around a particular group's religion?

Which is first? Is one first? Its usually the religion that changes "their" view.--Whocares001 (talk) 05:07, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

@Whocares001, Good point, (IMHO). I tried to resolve by changing "revolves around" to "makes up" --Bertrc (talk) 22:30, 2 November 2020 (UTC)

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 to 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)