From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This is an archive page, last updated 24 March 2022. Please do not make edits to this page.
Archives for this talk page:   , (new)(back)


Redirecting Superstition to Religion is exactly that kind of idiocy that makes me disrespect RW almost as much as CP. Even your "liberal atheist" WP clearly distinguishes the two notions. This is not about refuting anti-science, this is simply the utter arrogance and disrespect of some who believe that there is nothing beyond science, towards those who seek answers in religion that science by definition cannot provide (e.g. the meaning or the purpose of our existence). If you believe that there is nothing beyond science, and that we're here "just because", fine. You don't need to share a belief to respect it. And I can very much understand opposing religious fundamentalists who deny the evidence and bend the truth to match their world view. But I find it simply disgusting how some people here drag all religious beliefs into the dirt (and this is just the most recent example I noticed). -- 16:19, 8 November 2007 (EST)

I believe that it was done as a joke (not by me) but what is religion if not superstition? Susan... purrrrrr ... 16:24, 8 November 2007 (EST)

"A belief, conception, act, or practice resulting from ignorance, unreasoning fear of the unknown or mysterious, morbid scrupulosity, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation" - if this is your opinion of religion, if have nothing more to say to you. (The quoted text is from Webster's definition of superstition.) -- 16:45, 8 November 2007 (EST)

I don't expect to hear from you again then. Susan... purrrrrr ... 17:10, 8 November 2007 (EST)

How about a one sentence article: "Religion is a superstition that requires your money." Would that make you happier? And, it's "causality", damn it. Every time I see "causation" it makes me want to be sick. --Jeeves 17:27, 8 November 2007 (EST)
I wrote it differently - it now contains a bit that's respectful religion, and one veiled stab. Thoughts? -- מְתֻרְגְּמָן וִיקִי שְׁלֹום!

I don't understand it, at all. But I'm probably a touch dense. Susan... purrrrrr ... 17:42, 8 November 2007 (EST)

Our IP chides us saying: You don't need to share a belief to respect it.. I've always been a bit confused by this idea. I don't share beliefs with homeopathy - but am I expected to respect it because some people have a sincere belief in it? Why?--Bobbing up 01:27, 9 November 2007 (EST)
I'm inclined to agree, in part. While I think it a Good Thing to respect people who have beliefs I should not be expected to respect the beliefs themselves. This would show itself by my not thinking less of people who hold to beliefs that I may find silly. I should then expect the same courtesy by not being belittled by random people who hold strong views on certain untestable ideas. CЯacke® 01:51, 9 November 2007 (EST)
Tellingly, religious people are not so hesitant to dismiss other religions as "mere superstition", especially folk religion, paganism and "minor" religions in general, such as indigenous religions in Africa. Hypocrisy of the worst sort (you cannot criticise us, but we can criticise everyone else!), and thinly veiled racism to boot.
Although this is increasingly seen as "politically incorrect" and thus becoming less common in public, given how "atheist" is often implied to mean something like "virgin-sacrificing, baby-eating commie-Nazi devil-worshipper", at least in America, leading many irreligious people to shun the label and spell it "agnostic" instead (in what amounts to no more than a euphemistic replacement), the sentiment is still far from extinct. -- (talk) 22:52, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I on the other hand see a small difference between agnosticism and atheism, however tiny the difference may be, it exists, damnit! Nullahnung (talk) 22:57, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but it's a different difference than those who describe themselves as "agnostic" usually mean: Agnostics believe that the existence of god(s) is impossible to prove or disprove, while atheists simply do not believe in any gods (famously, monotheists reject belief in gods, too, with a single exception), making atheists the open-minded ones and agnostics the close-minded ones, ironically. For this means that even if a god revealed themselves unambiguously to an agnostic, the agnostic would have to reject this experience as impossible, while the atheist would change his stance to theist. Well, at least in theory. :-) In practice, of course, agnosticism and atheism are not incompatible, and in fact most atheists are also agnostics.
But back to superstition: Turns out that at least one theist had he nerve to go "it's not us who are superstitious, it's you ebil atheists! Atheism is really the highest form of superstition, neener-neener-neener!"
Religious people demand respect? Really? What I keep seeing is religious cats whining that the atheistic mice are persecuting them. -- (talk) 01:31, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Actually, the common conception of agnosticism is "I can't prove or disprove god right now", which means if a god does show itself, then the response would be "Well, now I know!" From an atheist's point of view, the difference from being atheist to being agnostic is ineffectual and therefore insignificant, of course. Nullahnung (talk) 02:01, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I'd say that it's question of "knowledge" and belief. Take the Loch Ness monster. I cannot prove that it does not exist, but I know that the evidence in favour of it existing is very weak.
Logically I have to concede that there is some faint possibility that it exists as my knowledge is not infinite. So I am arguably an agnostic about the monster.
But as the evidence is so bad I am justified if, for all practical intents and purposes I say "I don't believe the monster exists". I'm an atheist in terms of the monster.
The same reasoning applies to unicorns, bigfoot, fairies, gods, God and celestial teapots.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 07:55, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Rational Thinker's edit[edit]

Edit under debate is:Religious dogma is today the primary obstacle towards a fully rational society based on science. Religionists have a record of oppressing the greatest minds of humanity, from Galileo to Darwin, in order to push their nefarious and destructive world view.

I agree with it and would vote to put it back in. --Edgerunner76 10:48, 22 January 2008 (EST)

I have a problem with "Religionists have a record of oppressing the greatest minds of humanity, from Galileo to Darwin, in order to push their nefarious and destructive world view." - Many "religionists," are, after all, among the greatest minds of humanity; many religions - think Islam in the Medieval era - have a history of fostering intellectual pursuit and scientific and rational discovery; and many progressive social movements (civil rights, liberation theology) had strong roots in religion - bringing into question the blanket statement that all religion is a "nefarious and destructive world view."PFoster 10:55, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Religion is anti-rational by definition. Maybe in ancient times some scientits used to pose as religionists, becuase the oppressive power of the church was so great that they had no choice. A rational religionist is an oxymoron. Either you follow dogma, or you follow your logical mind. You can't do both. --Rational Thinker 11:03, 22 January 2008 (EST)
I see what you mean. However, I would like to see the edit put back if it were reworder to put a narrower context of more modern fundamentalism. Oh, and I loved that the size of your edit to this page was 666. That's kinda funny. :) --Edgerunner76 11:04, 22 January 2008 (EST)
How about "Some religions have a record of..."? "While some religions have at times fostered rational explorations of our world," before it? humanUser talk:Human 11:07, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Hey Rational - have a friend who's a scientit. Great job to have. about your dig at "ancient times" - what, history doesn't matter anymore? And the rest of that sentence barely makes sense: Are you trying to say that, in the example I gave of Islamic support of rational and scientific inquiry, people were claiming to be Muslims when they weren't? Do you have evidence for this? PFoster 11:08, 22 January 2008 (EST)
C'mon, it's just a matter of rational thought (d'oh): religion says the magic man in the sky is doing it. Science says nature is doing it. One of them must be wrong. So if you do science, you contradict religion by definition. Thus, if you have a self-proclaimed religionist doing science, it's clear that he is faking it for his own benefit, or maybe to save his life (Galileo anyone?). Would you rather be burnt at the stake or say aloud "suuuuuuuuure I believe in Santa Claws!!!" Of course you can try to obfuscate this fact with clever wordisms, but that's how it is. --Rational Thinker 11:19, 22 January 2008 (EST)
You're taking too narrow of a view of religion. They aren't all "man in the sky" religions. Anyway, we try to keep our "attacks" more focused - IOW, an article on Falwell or Robertson might call for some serious butt reaming, but one on religion in general has to keep in mind all religious movements. humanUser talk:Human 11:22, 22 January 2008 (EST)
So which religious movements come without the "magic man in the sky" attached? Buddhism? Define "religion" properly, and Buddhism drops out anyway. What are we left with -- some minority lunatic sects waiting for some magic spaceship to rescue them, and more crap of that sort. Is that more rational than magic man? --Rational Thinker 11:33, 22 January 2008 (EST)
It seems clear that religion which is based on faith cannot claim to be rational in the same way as science which is based on evidence.--Bobbing up 11:21, 22 January 2008 (EST)
It's not just "clever wordism" - it's WHAT HAPPENED. Look, it would be an easy world to live in if everything were black-and-white, cut-and-dry, uncomplicated and straightforward. But the world isn't like that - it's complex and contradictory, and that's why your blanket statements are the antithesis of the "rationality" you so proudly attempt to embrace.PFoster 11:23, 22 January 2008 (EST)
If we're going to to go with rationalism then that rather excludes religion.--Bobbing up 11:29, 22 January 2008 (EST)
I find this particularly ironic given RT's assertion that ALL religionists have ALWAYS decried ALL attempts at rationality. PFoster 11:33, 22 January 2008 (EST)
He was excommunicated -- sort of proving my point, he was evidently not a loyal religionist. --Rational Thinker 11:40, 22 January 2008 (EST)
"Ockham was excommunicated for leaving Avignon, but his philosophy was never officially condemned." - also, he was excommunicated over questions of a theological nature, not over his work on logic or science. Nice try, kid. PFoster 12:17, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Wait wait wait, he was excommunicated over THEOLOGICAL stuff, and that makes him a true religionist? Huh? Logic, anyone? How about you accept the evidence: he was faking it, and he was bad at it, and that's why they kicked him out! Can it be more obvious than that??!! --Rational Thinker 12:24, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Having a dispute with church hierarchy does not mean that he didn't have faith or religion or accept the great majority of church dogma. I'm not arguing that the church is blameless, I'm arguing that religion - and not just the Catholic Church - has a relationship to rational and scientific inquiry that is more complex that your Manichean view of the question - and history bears out that I am right and you are wrong.PFoster 12:31, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Let's summarize: You dig out a guy who's been dead and buried for more than half a millennium (not so many good examples readily available, huh?). You notice that he had not completely given up religion -- heck, that was centuries before Galileo, they didn't have a clue back then! How could you expect them not to say "huh... well God did it" about all those things they didn't know yet?! And that's your example of the rational and scientific attitude of religionists? And then you top it off by calling my views Manichean... wow... just wow. --Rational Thinker 12:50, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Let's summarize: you try to sum up centuries of the histories of science, religion and philosophy into one snarky edit that bears no relation to the complexity of those histories, and try to tell me that I am "the rational and scientific attitude of religionists" when I've made it clear that all I'm trying to do is throw some of the complexity back into the mix, and YOU'RE the "rational" one? Goatspeed. PFoster 12:54, 22 January 2008 (EST)

back on topic[edit]

Suggested wording: "While some religions have at times fostered rational explorations of our world, others have a record of suppressing science in one form or another. Fundamentalist religious dogma and its opposition to rationalism is today the primary obstacle in the way of societies' advancing and improving through a strong emphasis on observation of real outcomes." humanUser talk:Human 12:14, 22 January 2008 (EST)

I for one remain unconvinced that A) fundamentalist dogma is anywhere near 'a', let alone 'the', primary obstacle to societal advancement; and B) that a society based exclusively on scientific rationality would be all that reasonable or appealing. Thinking of Hume's "servant of the passions" and all that. Also, User:Rational Thinker seriously needs to get a clue. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 12:50, 22 January 2008 (EST)
OK, 'A' is debateable, and I almost went with "arguably one of". And in 'B', the science thing I axed, because it seemed 1984-creepy to me. That why I said "a strong emphasis on observation of real outcomes" - as opposed to faith-based attitudes. humanUser talk:Human 13:01, 22 January 2008 (EST)
I like Human's first sentence. But, while I have a negative view or religion and its impact, I have to concur that it's unlikely to be the fundamental obstacle in all societies. I'm not sure that Human's version says society would be better if were only based on science though. --Bobbing up 13:05, 22 January 2008 (EST)
How about just simply adding something along the lines of religions taking a reactionary position as science began to attempt to answer questions for which the religions had already "answered"? --Edgerunner76 13:07, 22 January 2008 (EST)
How about making it as specific as possible and pointing to specific incidences (like the YEC/evolution/ID fiasco) that names which religions, which religious figures, etc have attacked which elements of scientific inquiry in which ways without making inaccurate blanket assertions. I mean, this site is full of solid arguments like that anyways, right? PFoster 13:12, 22 January 2008 (EST)
You mean a separate section something like "Religions failed attempts at science" or something like that?--Bobbing up 13:16, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Actually, the more I think about it, the more i think the best way would be to have a header like "Religion and Science" and under that, links to articles we alreqady have that discuss the questions raised above.PFoster 13:18, 22 January 2008 (EST)
I think that would be a good approach, yes. humanUser talk:Human 14:12, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Aye. Generally speaking, it would be a considerable improvement if people would phrase their criticisms as "[individual] or [organization] says..." instead or "Christianity says...". Christianity actually says very little, and the generalizations tend towards intellectual lazyness. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 14:00, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Well, some people here do take our mission as encouragement to go overboard with their "religion/CP/conservatism is teh evol" thing. We constantly have to rein each other in and keep things fair and balanced ;) humanUser talk:Human 14:12, 22 January 2008 (EST)

'C'mon, it's just a matter of rational thought (d'oh): religion says the magic man in the sky is doing it. Science says nature is doing it. One of them must be wrong. So if you do science, you contradict religion by definition. Thus, if you have a self-proclaimed religionist doing science, it's clear that he is faking it for his own benefit, or maybe to save his life (Galileo anyone?). Would you rather be burnt at the stake or say aloud "suuuuuuuuure I believe in Santa Claws!!!" Of course you can try to obfuscate this fact with clever wordisms, but that's how it is. --Rational Thinker 11:19, 22 January 2008 (EST)'

Lulz, this is like a gallery of argumentative fallacies.

C'mon, it's just a matter of rational thought (d'oh): religion says the magic man in the sky is doing it.


Depends on your definition of "religion". Maybe you're counting Buddhism, indeed they don't make such claims. Most others do, however.
Uh, no they don't. Let's look at the Abrahamic religions for a start. I'm fairly sure that none of them claim that their God lives in the sky.
Ugh, you like to take things literally, huh? Let's substitute "supernatural being" for "magic man in the sky". "Supernatural" meaning violating natural laws.
Well, if you don't talk literally, then how do I know that your entire work isn't a subtle postmodern allegory against the slave trade? Also, see below, and/or read some stuff on the cosmological argument.
Proof by verbosity? (Throw an entire book, or several, at your interlocutor.)
If you refuse to debate in anything but strawmen, then I'm afraid that I must. At least read the wikipedia page, for Sparta's sake.

Science says nature is doing it. One of them must be wrong.

False dichotomy.

Nope, look it up -- doesn't apply here.
Yes it does - you are arguing that the two are mutually exclusive. Many, many, many people have worked to show that they don't exclude each other.
Supernatural beings and natural laws are mutually exclusive. Unless you assume natural laws to have exceptions, which is unscientific.
Again, actually read a modern version of the C. Arg.
idem too

So if you do science, you contradict religion by definition.

Thus, if you have a self-proclaimed religionist doing science, it's clear that he is faking it for his own benefit

Ad hominem

Common sense, really. Why would a scientist embrace anti-science? --
Common sense is the antithesis of sense. Use arguments to debunk stuff, not just vague appeals claiming that things are true 'because, well, everyone says they're true, don't they?', which is what common sense is
Let me ask again: why would anyone embrace science and anti-science at the same time? The two things contradict each other. Thus either the person is crazy, or they have a non-intrinsic reason for it.
I'll question the premise, if that's OK. You say that religion is some sort of 'anti-science', that, I duno, will spontaneously cancel out science and explode. This whole argument is circular - you're using a premise (that science and religion are mutually exclusive) to prove your conclusion (which is the same). Sure, you may see it as a self-evident fact, just as creationists see it as a fact that the Earth is 6,000 years old. Also, like your 'pro-life'-style 'anti-science'
discussed above
Uh, if you mean the discussion with PFoster, then I'm afraid that it was, to say the least, not convincing.

or maybe to save his life (Galileo anyone?). Would you rather be burnt at the stake or say aloud "suuuuuuuuure I believe in Santa Claws!!!"

Strawman, appeal to contempt.

"appeal to contempt"??? what the ???
Trying to link your opponent with an opinion that's obviously wrong; technically it's a straw man, but I thought you'd get tired of hearing that :p.
are you taking "Santa Claws" literally or what? Replace as appropriate and try again.
I'll discuss what you give me - otherwise, I could just have a conversation with myself.
Seems you are a bit too fixated on your communication models to actually understand real life conversations...
Ad hominem :). No, but this isn't a conversation - do you regularly refer people to 'conversations, idem'? No? That is because this is a debate. Stop equivocating and trying to dodge between precise language and vague allusion.

Of course you can try to obfuscate this fact with clever wordisms, but that's how it is. --Rational Thinker 11:19, 22 January 2008 (EST)


Which is not even a fallacy.
Rhetorical technique designed to conceal the lack of an argument with a semblance of already having won. Sure, it doesn't break the P1-PX C1 model, but then again, neither does ad hominem. Randomly calling people 'Hitler' isn't a fallacy, either, at least not logic-wise, but it's still just not done.
"Hitler" is not a valid argument. Occupatio doesn't relate to the validity of the argument itself. --Rational Thinker 16:03, 22 January 2008 (EST)
No, but having to resort to rhetorical techniques in place of arguments doesn't exactly speak well of them.
Nitpicking on rhetorical figures isn't much of an argument (against my previous points) either. --Rational Thinker 16:35, 22 January 2008 (EST)
At least it's valuable analysis - dismissing everything that comes after you as 'clever wordisms', but insisting that you're right anyway, doesn't exactly smack of rationality, balance, or weighing up both sides of an argument. Sounds a little more like something that those whom you would like to disagree with would say: 'I'm right, I know I'm right, and no matter what you say, I'll still know I'm right'.

Heh. Rational. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום

Certainly no less than you. --Rational Thinker 15:32, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Pick out the 'irrational' points I made, and then we can address them. --

Religion and science[edit]

I started a section (and broke the main up into many sections), it needs to be fleshed out though. Especially with links to articles. humanUser talk:Human 14:20, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Science-friendly religion? Are you kidding me? So maybe they have noticed that refuting science makes them look quite dumb. But they haven't stopped spouting their bullshit about gods and devils and angels floating around and crap like that. If that bullshit were true, they should be able to prove it. Which they are not. See Dawkins. Religion is still anti-science, and now that we know that science can explain everything, it's time to finally phase out those old superstitions. --Rational Thinker 15:21, 22 January 2008 (EST)
'now that we know that science can explain everything' - wow, I didn't catch this news! Awesome! Can you show me a journal that allows me to read more about this? --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום
Wow, RT, that was quite the irrational splurge. Many religious traditions have been friendly and even supportive of science. Maybe as we improve the article you'll learn some new stuff? You know there are more religions than just the ones that believe in "gods and devils and angels", right? humanUser talk:Human 15:25, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Although RT may go a bit over the top on some stuff, the fact remains that the vast majority of religions fairly obviously believe in something supernatural.--Bobbing up 15:38, 22 January 2008 (EST)
As I said, it's obviously a matter of terminology. If you take a very wide definition of "religion", including Buddhism, New Age and stuff like that, OK, they might be somewhat compatible with science. But they are not really "religions" in the strict sense. More apt descriptions range from "philosophy" to "lifestyle". I'm referring to religions in the strict sense, and those all feature some magic creatures floating around in heavens, or on Mount Olympus or whatever. That's irrational anti-science in its pure state, and it corrupts the rational mind. --Rational Thinker 15:42, 22 January 2008 (EST)
As does the straw man fallacy, RT. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום
You seem to like that word, and you seem to like to take things literally. Please substitute "supernatural being" for "magic creatures". Can you name a religion (in the strict sense) that does not include such ... huh ... things? --Rational Thinker 15:50, 22 January 2008 (EST)

I like that idea as much as you like using it, RT. If we are to have a proper debate, though, literal, non-vague language is usually a good start. As to your point, that religion includes 'supernatural beings', and so can't be real, because it's not science - what about, say, the God described by the in esse argument for God's existence? That idea's not a-scientific at all - doesn't break any of its laws, but is merely unproven. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום

I'm not familiar with the in esse argument, but if god doesn't violate any natural laws, then it's just a useless hypothesis, because with or without him everything would happen in exactly the same way, namely according to natural laws. So we have a "god" floating around, but since he is not part of the physical world, he cannot do a damn thing in our world, for otherwise he would violate natural laws. It's just like assuming spacetime (in relativity theory) to have more than one connected component. It doesn't contradict science, but it's pointless, because the two (or more) components cannot interact in any way, so from our point of view they would effectively be inexistent. --Rational Thinker 16:19, 22 January 2008 (EST)
A totally non-interventionist Deist God is difficult to disprove simply because of his non-intervention. However utter non-intervention would also make him utterly unimportant.--Bobbing up 16:30, 22 January 2008 (EST)
...making religion utterly pointless: how can a non-interventionist god dictate any laws or rules? He can't, so they're fake. Why would anyone pray to him? There is no possible interaction, i.e. he won't hear you and even if he could he couldn't do a thing for you. Thus the only scientifically possible god entirely defeats religion in the first place... now what? --Rational Thinker 16:40, 22 January 2008 (EST)

"now that we know that science can explain everything" is dogma, not fact. humanUser talk:Human 16:42, 22 January 2008 (EST)

I think RT may have gone a bit overboard on that one.--Bobbing up 16:43, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Examples of science-friendly religion[edit]

Our article says: In the modern era, many Christian denominations accept fully modern science and its ramifications. Can we really substantiate this? Surely the ramifications of science would, at the very least, generate agnosticism?--Bobbing up 15:45, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Not really, since science does not disprove God. Oh, maybe it should say "some" rather than "many", but let me see. Example - C of E. Do they oppose science in any way? Episcopals (well, same church, kinda) - do they? I don't think the Congregational churches (UCC?) do, either. Heck, except for birth control research, the Catholics are fairly up-to-date these days. humanUser talk:Human 15:52, 22 January 2008 (EST)
It depends on what god is being disproved. If we are talking about the miracle working God which some Christians believe in then yes science (or at least rational thinking) disproves him because of the absence of such miracles. With regard to the other churches, as far as I can tell, many of them hold to some sort of ID, guided evolution or Theistic Evolution. So at some level the majority would seem to be in conflict with science.--Bobbing up 15:58, 22 January 2008 (EST)
TE is a broad church, if you'll pardon the pun, and, as believed by quite a few in the UK at least, is more like Theistic Abiogenesis. Also, there's a hueg debate about what actually constitutes a 'miracle' among theologians. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום
OK, lots of people believe different things. But if we just take Theistic Abiogenesis and no more we still have a miraculous act followed - presumably - by god-guided evolution to reach mankind. That's at lest one miracle followed, presumably by various others, to reach the ultimate goal - mankind. It seems to me there's a contradiction with science there.--Bobbing up 16:07, 22 January 2008 (EST)
I don't see "guided evolution" as being anti-science. Just unprovable, and maybe un-disprovable. It fully accepts what science says happened and when, and usually accepts any science-proved causes for given mutations. Hence the NOMA ref.
Guided evolution would need periodic unspecified miraculous interventions to reach a pre-determined goal. It is a long way from undirected natural selection which is as likely to produce dinosaurs as humans. It looks clearly unscientific to me.--Bobbing up 16:15, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Who is to say the goal (humans) was pre-determined? How about this sequence of events: God creates the universe, and establishes the natural laws, among them the rules of evolution that will eventually lead to one or more species achieving sentience. He sets the show in motion through the Big Bang, then kicks back to wait and see what happens. Once humans do get sentient, he gives them souls and divine inspiration and all that other stuff. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 16:17, 22 January 2008 (EST)
An interesting possibility. Before I debate it, could you tell me if this belief is actually held by any religion?--Bobbing up 16:18, 22 January 2008 (EST)
It is not inconsistent with most religions. Most Christians, Jews, and many others are non-dogmatic and adjust all but their core beliefs to be more in line with measurable reality (otherwise they wouldn't try to start an internal combustion engine). 16:30, 22 January 2008 (EST)
The consequence of your and AKjeldsen comments would seem to be that most religions would be happy about the idea of talking soul bearing dinosaurs. Who knows, dinosaurs might have evolved into intelligent beings, God would have given them souls and there would have been a dinosaur Jesus. And most religions would be happy with this addition to their doctrine? --Bobbing up 16:35, 22 January 2008 (EST)
I don't know if they'd be particularly happy with it (for some reason - personally I find the idea of a dinosaur Jesus awesome), but [liberal deceit] I can't find anything in at least what you could call the core Christian doctrines that would directly contradict such an interpretation. [/liberal deceit] --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 16:51, 22 January 2008 (EST)
This, by the way, reminds me of a Sinfest... --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 17:03, 22 January 2008 (EST)

(undent) Hehehe, well, we did make a jealous god in our own image, didn't we? "We are your critters and you shall have no other critters before us!" humanUser talk:Human 17:06, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Maybe I should have used the idea of intelligent cockroaches. :-) Anyway, the thrust of AKjeldsen's argument would seem to be an attempt to reduce the number of miraculous interventions necessary and so make religion more science-friendly. It would allow evolution to be unguided and not make mankind its "objective". Notwithstanding comments in the above paragraphs I sincerely doubt that any major Abrahamic religion would accept this as doctrine. However he still has the creation of the universe, possibly Theistic Abiogenesis (Abiogenesis isn't evolution) the miraculous provision of souls - which presumably have some function unknown to science - and, from other comments, Jesus in some form. So there's still quite a bit of non-scientific miracle working going on in there.--Bobbing up 02:56, 23 January 2008 (EST)
Of course there is, religion more or less by definition involves something supernatural. But that's not really the question here as I see it - the question is rather whether or not those supernatural elements are able to exist in parallel with a physical world governed by measurable natural laws. Some people believe that they can co-exist, cf. NOMA, while others believe that they cannot, that everything must be absolutely measurable. To me, however, this latter position is quite obviously one dictated subjectively by one's personal philosophical standpoint, rather than objectively by science in itself. Science is defined especially by a particular method, by peer review, and by a shared set of standards, but not by any particular philosophy. For that reason, it seems to me that the not uncommon attempt by certain people to hitch the horse of science to the harness of logical positivism is slightly disingenious, or at least terribly misunderstood, and not entirely unlike the various shenanigans of their counterparts among the ID crowd. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 15:52, 23 January 2008 (EST)
AKjeldsen, you are one of my favorite people on this site because you force me articulate my opinions. But in this instance, I seem to note a bit of ground shifting in your argument. Earlier in this thread you seemed to be trying to invent a miracle-free (or at lease miracle-reduced) religion in order to more easily square it with science. When that proves impossible, the idea that all religions need miracles is accepted - but our old friend the NOMA shield is brought up. Which really takes us back yet again to NOMA. I've mentioned before that this conversation-stopper seems to inevitably brought up when science seems to be coming too close to forcing a confrontation. But anyway we've danced around NOMA so often before that I don't presently have the will to pursue it. Or maybe we should re-ignite the NOMA debate page? :-) --Bobbing up 16:19, 23 January 2008 (EST)

Raptor jesus? 08:31, 23 January 2008 (EST)

Teh awesome. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 15:52, 23 January 2008 (EST)

As bad as the homeopathy article[edit]

As I suspected - as bad as the homeopathy article. When do you give equal time to the other point of view? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Start now; why don't you? SusanG  ContribsTalk 09:46, 16 June 2008 (EDT)
Not to nit pick, but isn't the point of RW to sorta *not* give the other point of view? seems to me, that would be CP. No one lies, here, adn we don't dismiss truth when presented, but that doesn't mean we have to be fair and ballanced, or even "Fair and Ballanced (tm).--Waiting for Godot 17:51, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Science and religion[edit]

Religion is based on beliefs, science on scientific method. Religion is defined as an institution to express belief in a divine power, while science is defined as the collective discipline of study or learning acquired through the scientific method; the sum of knowledge gained from such methods and discipline. Since religious beliefs are not the outcome of any scientific analysis, the very concept of religion comes in conflict with science. I am not sure why citation is necessary for this statement, it is an elementary fact. --Thunder Machine 16:20, 26 November 2008 (EST)

I think it's because you're dealing in absolutist terms that neglect the ways in which real living human beings have managed to reconcile faith and science. As well, how will you account for the very real ways in which religion often provided an environment for the advancement of scientific knowledge--such as in the case of the Islamic scholars of the Middle Ages. PFoster 16:27, 26 November 2008 (EST)
Nice try, Thunder, but no - it's not "an elementary fact", but rather an expression of the historical interpretational model known as the wp:conflict thesis, which dates back to the Victorians. As you will note from the WP article, it has fared badly among academics, but has unfortunately enjoyed a bit of a resurgence recently - probably because it fits rather nicely with the agendas of both extremes of the religion/science cultural war. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 16:34, 26 November 2008 (EST)
Though I personally believe religion as a whole has nothing to do with rationality because it is based on blind beliefs many of which originated as a result of human ignorance and lack of understanding of natural phenomena in ancient times, I have removed the statement. I was not aware of the Conflict thesis. Thunder Machine 16:58, 26 November 2008 (EST)
Isn't it obvious that science and religion are different beasts? Isn't it this what NOMA tries to fudge? Or is a different point being argued?--Bobbing up 16:59, 26 November 2008 (EST)
Yes, obviously science and religion are different. The question here is whether are they are naturally opposed and will inevitably come into conflict with one another. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 17:16, 26 November 2008 (EST)
Personally I would say that they are and that they will. One takes evidence as its basis and takes it from there - and the other takes faith and goes from there. There will be times when this takes them to different places. This will be generate conflict. For instance, one denies the existence of miracles and the other embraces it. I'd say that puts them in opposition.--Bobbing up 18:13, 26 November 2008 (EST)
Bob, that ignores what I pointed out above--people have, for centuries, found ways to reconcile religion and science. Not everyone with faith has no reason, is a young Earth creationist, or is ready to ascribe things that science can't explain to divine intervention. The world--and people--don't live in the kind of absolutes you describe. Religion and science can work together and coexist, because both are human creations and are thus able to be flexible, if people want them to be. PFoster 18:18, 26 November 2008 (EST)
Well, Bob, you are of course free to believe (geddit?) what you wish about these things, but the fact of the matter is that such an model has not been considered a valid interpretation the historical relationship between science and religion since at least the mid-20th century. The Wikipedia article I mentioned above lists some excellent books for further studies if you wish. Ferngren (ed): Science & Religion: A Historical Introduction (2002) is a good starting point. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 18:23, 26 November 2008 (EST)
It's certainly true that science and religion can co-exist. This can be easily demonstrated by the fact that in many instances that they do, in fact, co-exist. It is obvious that many (though by no means all) people seem to have no problem holding both scientific and religious ideas. Nevertheless, almost all religions depend, at some level, on the idea of miraculous acts - something which is alien and in conflict with scientific concepts.--Bobbing up 18:29, 26 November 2008 (EST)
That remains the central question here. We have already established that science and religion are obviously different. But it is by no means certain that this difference means that they are in conflict with one another. Research shows that historically, this has not been the case - if anything, they have been complimentary. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 18:56, 26 November 2008 (EST)
I think the above claim is a bit strong. "Historically" "they have been complementary"? How far back are we going, and where? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:22, 26 November 2008 (EST)
We can go as far back as we want to, even to the early Sumerians if necessary, but of course the tricky part is that neither "science" nor "religion" are fixed concepts in any way - our understanding of what exactly they signify change all the time along with the rest of society. I would say that it is only in the last 250 years or so that these concepts have been interpreteted in such a way that they can be seen as opposites. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 03:40, 27 November 2008 (EST)

I am sorry, I think you might not be exactly right. "Science" has a very specific meaning these days, which can perhaps be extrapolated back in time. "Religion" is a bit vague, of course, meaning many things to many people. However, AK, with all due respect, you are fucking wrong. Religionists in the USA today - NOW - are fighting science on religionist grounds. Which is not to smear all religiosy people everywhere, but it's a major fucking issue. Today. Which counts as "history", right? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:54, 27 November 2008 (EST)

I think one could also claim, speaking about conflict between astrology and science: Research shows that historically, this has not been the case - if anything, they have been complimentary. Would this be some sort of justification for astrology?--Bobbing up 04:03, 27 November 2008 (EST)
I'm not entirely sure what you mean. Obviously, again until fairly recently, astrology was a science. And if it wasn't because the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians used astrology, they might not have bothered laying down the foundations of maths. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 04:24, 27 November 2008 (EST)
Yes, that is my point. You wrote: "We have already established that science and religion are obviously different. But it is by no means certain that this difference means that they are in conflict with one another. Research shows that historically, this has not been the case - if anything, they have been complimentary." I understood your claim about lack of historic conflict to mean that current conflict is not justified.
My point is that one can also point to an historic lack of conflict between science and astrology. But this certainly does not mean that they are not in conflict now. Consequently an historic lack of conflict in no way implies the appropriateness of a current lack of conflict.--Bobbing up 04:33, 27 November 2008 (EST)
Perhaps, but that is a somewhat different discussion. Astrology is not a religion, it is a former science which has now been discredited. The conflict here is not between different types, as in the supposed one between science and religion, but rather over the definition of science and whether it can include astrology. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 04:48, 27 November 2008 (EST)
Nevertheless, your point (which I think you made several times) seemed to be about justifying a belief system based on the fact that it was historically held by reasonable people. And that people in the past had no problem reconciling one belief system with another. I think that my point shows that belief systems that were not historically in conflict do not necessarily have to continue in that state. (And when are you going to mention NOMA?) :-) --Bobbing up 04:58, 27 November 2008 (EST)
Alright, if that'll make you happy: NOMA presents a much better model for understanding the relationship between religion and science than the conflict thesis.
With that over with, the thing is that adherents to the conflict thesis are very fond of asserting that this conflict exists, usually on the basis of certain things that supposedly characterises either of these ideal types. However, when it comes to actually demonstrating that such a conflict exists in reality, they tend to fall back on either supposed historical conflict (Galileo is always a favourite) or current events. My points about their historical relationship addresses the first point, and my answer to Human below the second. As it is, I'm still waiting to see hard evidence of this inevitable conflict. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 05:09, 27 November 2008 (EST)
Well, I was making the point that the lack of an historical conflict (and this for the sake of argument) does not automatically mean that there will not be a current conflict. I'm not sure if you have accepted this or not.
Can you clarify your point about current conflict. When you say: I'm still waiting to see hard evidence of this inevitable conflict. Are you saying that you are waiting for hard evidence of the existence of some current conflict; or that you are waiting for evidence that any current conflict is inevitable? I guess its the latter but I'm not sure.--Bobbing up 05:58, 27 November 2008 (EST)
I was indeed think of the latter, but either one would be welcome, really. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 10:12, 27 November 2008 (EST)

Human, you're really supersimplifying there. Of course it's an issue, but it's a complex political, social and cultural one that can't be reduced to a conflict between ideal types like "science" and "religion". What you guys are witnessing is a cultural struggle between at least four different groups (and even this will be a simplification, but for the sake of discussion). First, you have the right-wing religious fundamentalists who are actually opposed to science, for a variety of reasons, some of them religious and some of them not. At the other extreme, you have the anti-theist fundamentalists (or "Dawkinistas" as I believe the emerging term is), such as Myers, Hitchens, Harris, et al., whose agenda of trying to shape society in their image is just as strong as their opponents' is, don't be mistaken about that. Then we have the group of religious moderates, who for obvious reasons are in conflict with both of these extremes, and finally, I imagine there's a fairly large group of scientists (such as Lenski) who would just like to get on with their jobs without having to contend with either the religious fundamentalists or the Dawkinistas who want to use science for their own ideological purposes. And again, all of these groups are motivated by a wide range of factors, including religion, but also politics, philosophy, socio-economics and so on. do not work in absolutes. The actual situation is probably even more complex than this, but I'm sure you'll agree that we're already pretty far away from this silly science vs. religion interpretation. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 04:17, 27 November 2008 (EST)

We have all those "This discussion is going downhill" and "Godwin's Law alert" templates, but I'd like there to exist a "Thank you for the interesting and informative discussion" template that I could put to this thread. Editor at CPOh, Finland! Why? 06:11, 27 November 2008 (EST)

Most certainly true. Most of the discussions are highly enlightening, which is why they're there. I certainly don't think this article needs to be anti religion. That would be more counterproductive than it's worth and it seems that the discussion has ended up with that conclusion fairly cleanly. I now know about the Conflict Thesis, which is useful to know. ArmondikoVpostate 11:28, 27 November 2008 (EST)
AK, the reason for my rather strong post was that today (now, part of history) in the US, fanatical religionists are blocking certain aspects of scientific research (stem cells, specifically, many others, generally) on the basis of religion alone. An argument might be made, say, by a rational ethicist, that (embryonic) stem cell research is this/that/the other thing, however, the religionists are basing it on their embryo-love - ie, their opposition to abortion of any kind, termination of any healthy zygote, etc. This is happening now, not 500 years ago. Oh, yeah, 500 years ago religions weren't exactly "science-friendly" either, but that's just history, right? PS, you said four groups, but I think you only listed three. Oh, no, I see, there were four. Kinda cherry-picked, though, since you only called one of them a nasty name. personally, I'd like to see a strong, intelligent defense of the Greek gods, Olympus, etc., and how it is a valid world-view, before we proceed to Bible-based world-views. Oh, wait, then there's Asgard. probably just as correct, if not more so. Or why not? ħumanUser talk:Human 22:33, 29 November 2008 (EST)
To be perfectly honest, Huw, I do not think that you are adding very much useful to this discussion right now, but to answer your points, firstly, this is the specific spectrum with the four groups that I am positing:
Fundamentalists <--------> moderate religion <----X----> moderate science <--------> Dawkinistas
It is to be expected that both of the extreme positions on this spectrum would reject the parts of the spectrum on the 'other side of the X', just like any other extreme world view would be opposed to those that differ from it. However, looking at an extreme expression of a certain concept is not a very useful way to approach that concept in general. After all, we don't expect hard-core Marxism to adequately represent other left-wing positions such as socialism and social democracy, do we? (Unless we're Conservapedia). So I'm more interested in the moderate groups. If it can be demonstrated that there also exists a conflict between them, then perhaps the conflict thesis has merit. All I'm asking for is evidence of this.
Secondly, I strongly disagree with your assertion that "500 years ago religions weren't exactly "science-friendly" either", because this is not supported by the results of historical research. I once again refer to the previously mentioned Ferngren (ed): Science & Religion: A Historical Introduction (2002) for an overview.
And finally, as for an Olympus- or Asgard-based world view, I see no reason at all why they should not be included under the general terms of 'Fundamentalists' and 'moderate religion'. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 07:02, 30 November 2008 (EST)
It seems (to me) you might simply be defining the terms in order to be right - and one is a rather new one. There are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of religious fundamentalists in the world today, who are highly opposed to some aspects of science. Where is the "Dawkinista" army? I know that some outspoken atheists vigorously attack religion in all' its forms, but is it a widely held perspective? What I mean by my first line is that any positions that cause "conflict" get moved to the extreme umbrellas, thus leaving the "moderates" by definition as not conflicting. Is any of Ferngren available on line so I can easily re-educate myself to the lack of conflicts between religion and science in historical times? ħumanUser talk:Human 18:41, 30 November 2008 (EST)
Well, the thing is that these positions do exist in reality, and they need to be defined and considered as part of the overall model one way or the other. I don't think you can expect me to do that in a way that does not support the point I'm trying to make, but of course, you're welcome to suggest a better interpretation if you have one.
Ferngren is not available online, I'm afraid, except for a couple of pages in Amazon's Look Inside feature.
Oh, and if you want to observe the behaviour of the Dawkinistas in the wild, I would suggest and And the comments section of Pharyngula. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 19:42, 30 November 2008 (EST)

Science and Religion continued[edit]

AKjeldsen, I'm still not sure if you've responded to the point I was making about the lack of an historical conflict (accepted for the sake of argument) not automatically meaning that there will not be a current conflict.

Anyway, before responding to your challenge to provide hard evidence of the existence of some current conflict, and/or any evidence that any current conflict is inevitable, I'd like to clarify something. Please consider the following: Young earth creationism; a belief in a Global Flood; a belief in demonic possession and the effectiveness of exorcism as carried out by the current Roman Catholic Church; a belief that Thor can return the goats Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr to life by touching then; a belief that those beatified by the Catholic Church have actually, literally, carried out miracles. Would you agree that all the above would be examples of religious beliefs - and consequently would be included in the term "religion"? And if not, why not?--Bobbing up 06:54, 28 November 2008 (EST)

Yes... without being completely aware of your precise intention with that question, I would tentatively agree that these are beliefs that are being or at certain times have been held by certain segments of religious believers, as a result of an intersection between more fundamental beliefs and a number of complex cultural factors. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 07:49, 28 November 2008 (EST)
OK, I take that to mean that you provisionally accept that these are religious beliefs. Presumably you would also agree that none of the above beliefs is based on what we could call scientific evidence. That is to say that if we were design experiments to test them we would find either no evidence for their being, in fact, true representations of reality as science understands it, or we would find negative evidence. Furthermore, in in the case of alleged spiritual entities such as Thor we probably could not even design an experiment to test for him. Are we in agreement so far?--Bobbing up 10:23, 28 November 2008 (EST)
Again, yes... This is rather interesting, by the way. I don't think I've participated in a Socratic dialogue before. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 11:03, 28 November 2008 (EST)
To be honest, the brevity of your replies is a little disconcerting. But to continue.
It seems then that were are agreed that these religious ideas are clearly supernatural beliefs and explanations. Ideas and concepts generated and perpetuated by faith rather than by evidence. Therefore I put it to you Mr AKjeldsen that these particular ideas are incompatible to a scientific world-view. The idea of a global flood for example - an idea held as an article of faith in spite of, rather than because of, evidence - is clearly in conflict with science and the scientific method. (I am going to assume your agreement at this point.)
I further put it to you that all religions involve some level of supernatural explanation. It may be an extremely interventionist supernatural activity as in the case of the Global Flood, almost non-existent as in the case of the deist god, or somewhere in between - but it has to be there. Are we still in agreement?--Bobbing up 11:32, 28 November 2008 (EST)
We are in agreement on your second point, that "religion" requires an element of the supernatural.
However, I can't agree entirely with your first point because of your interchanging use of the concepts "science" and "a scientific world-view". There is a subtle but important difference between them in that science refers to research carried out according to certain principles, whereas a scientific world-view is much broader, being a world-view informed primarily, or perhaps even exclusively by science. One could perhaps argue that many scientists will also by virtue of their profession have a scientific world-view in general, but personally I doubt that human beings can be reduced to such ideal types.
For the record, I would also point out that while some religious beliefs, such as the global flood, would be in conflict with scientific results, that is by no means necessarily true of all religious beliefs. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 12:11, 28 November 2008 (EST)
I will happily accept that not all religious views and scientific views will be in conflict. Some parts of religion will simply be irrelevant to science. Nevertheless, for the sake of this debate, and for obvious reasons, I am interested in areas where they potentially intersect and conflict.
Anyway, and I want to have things clear. You have made a distinction between "science" and a "scientific world-view". Again, for the sake of argument, I'll go with it. In terms of your challenge in respect of a science and religion "to provide hard evidence of the existence of some current conflict, and/or any evidence that any current conflict is inevitable", - do you mean evidence of a conflict between between a "scientific world-view" and religion, or between "science" and religion?--Bobbing up 14:40, 28 November 2008 (EST)
I meant between "science" and religion. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 09:46, 29 November 2008 (EST)
If religion claims something is true, and science can prove it's false, isn't that, in and of itself, a conflict? Anyone who claims to have harmonised religion and science in their own mind must face up to such instances. All religions assert some things that can be demonstrated as false by science and in many cases have been. That seems to be a pretty clear case of science and religion being in unavoidable conflict. Wazza (Not Wazzock, Wazza)Approach the Presence 08:01, 30 November 2008 (EST)
I believe that it might be a good idea to be a little more precise about what is meant by "conflict". If two concepts, considered as their ideal types represent significantly understandings of the world, then of course they can be said to "be in conflict" or "conflicting with one another" on a certain level. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will end up in "conflict" in the sense of the conflict thesis, i.e. being actively hostile towards one another. Again, one has to remember that these things do not exist in their absolute ideal forms, but only through human agency, and as I believe PFoster also pointed out above, humans very rarely act in completely absolute terms. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 15:26, 30 November 2008 (EST)


As I've recently read a discussion elsewhere titled "If religion is a choice, why do parents force it on their children" and though we could explore the origins of religion as a concept based on things like misfirings of evoltionary survival traits and the different ideas. Any thoughts or do we have something on it already? ArmondikoVpostate 08:53, 30 January 2009 (EST)

Dewesternized this[edit]

Many of the statements about "religion", were really only applicable to a traditionally Western view of religion. I tried to add some "weasel words (forgive me), and alternate examples to broaden the view of religion, but still keep it critical.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot""We are all born mad. Some remain so." 10:42, 20 March 2009 (EDT)

Those are excellent improvements!--ConservapediaRoolz 12:25, 20 March 2009 (EDT)
I have no particular Problems with the Article. I particularly like the Fact that we Acknowledge that Faith and the Supernatural are Integral parts of religion.--Tolerance 13:57, 20 March 2009 (EDT)

Quote at beginning[edit]

I put that up, and I am not sure if that's appropriate; move it to somewhere where it is appropriate if you find it not good to be on the article of religion. Thieh 01:03, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

"science-friendly attitudes within religion"[edit]

The entire section is crap. When religious organization fund scientific research, they do it for general human well-being or because they have to do it, not because their religious codes tell them to do that. Take the example Roman Catholic Church's acceptance of evolution. in modern era they will turn themselves into a fringe group if they don't accept a widely acknowledged scientific fact. But it is not exactly something "science friendly". They accept evolution because they had to accept it.

By science friendly, we mean someone who funds scientific research only for the purpose of exploring the unknown. Roman Catholic Church does not have this as a motive when they accept evolution. --SupernovaExplosion (talk) 09:36, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

The bit on Zoroastrianism is particularly weird. It reads like fundy rambling on biblical scientific foreknowledge.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 21:37, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Maybe you've seen this before, maybe you haven't...[edit]

Discuss (or not). -- Seth Peck (talk) 19:35, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Modern approaches[edit]

This section seems rather wishy washy, made up. Maybe we can discuss what teh point was to it, and how we can reframe it. Cause right now it says that "many people do something", without any context of what these many people are, where they are doing something, or why; then it talks "the real issue", and again, doesn't give clear ideas about who this is an issue for (politics? modern churches? children?).--Green mowse.pngGodot 20:13, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

  • removed material:

In the modern era, many fairly non-religious people cobble together a "personal philosophy" that is a grab-bag of the religious, philosophical, and moral concepts that they think or feel works well for them.

In contrast, in spite of so much of our understanding of the universe, there are people who insist that every teaching their religion promotes is the absolute truth - these people are called fundamentalists.

While many religionists think that the modern world's most important battles are between religious traditions, the reality is that the two most important struggles are 1)between fundamentalists of any stripe and people who are more open-minded in their beliefs, and 2) the personal struggle to internalize and reflect upon a religion, denying the religion's inherent authority to dictate one's choices, beliefs, and role in life (that is, to internalize a religion and apply active reflection upon it, question it, and as appropriate, discard all or some of it).

Religion in the East[edit]

I've commented out "religion in the East", cause we don't really seem to have a handle on this, other than the most basic 3rd grade "there are some poeple there who do strange thigns!". I know there are people on the board who probably can give a pretty good short summary of Eastern religion as it's expressed, if atheism is growing or not, if it's dogmatic like monotheist Western religions are, etc. any help appriciate. Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 21:20, 1 August 2013 (UTC)


I put
Some religions have so little unprovable dogma that they could be called philosophies. By contrast other religions like the Church of Scientology are rife with superstition, myth taken as fact, and harshly enforced rules.

The article Scientology shows how far harshly enforced rules are involved, I copied just one subsection to illustrate.

Sea Org[edit]

The Foxhole Atheist made this for a homework assignment. Nice work. The CoS will be at your door shortly.

The Sea Organization, or "Sea Org", is Scientology's "advanced religious retreat" but really forms part of its vast management and bureaucratic wing. Promoted to members as some sort of utopian cruise ship in which the most advanced levels of Scientology are taught, those who have joined Sea Org instead found themselves required to sign a "billion year contract" with Sea Org, surrender their passports upon boarding, live in squalid group quarters with no privacy, perform menial chores as assigned, and suffer punishments such as being locked in the chain locker for petty offenses. Sea Org makes it deliberately hard to leave by issuing those who leave a "freeloader's bill", billing them for all the auditing and services received on the ship. However, neither the "billion year contract" nor the "freeloader's bill" are legally enforceable and Scientology will never try to uphold them in a law court, knowing how hard a judge would laugh at them. Proxima Centauri (talk) 09:12, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

The issue has nothing to do with whether or not scientology is high or low dogma. the issue is that we are talking a large variety of "markers" that are useful in identifying religion. we are not talking about just dogma. The examples as written suggest that dogma is the most important factor of a religion - it is not. The examples do not provide any better information than what was already there.Green mowse.pngGodot The ablity to breath is such an overrated ability 17:38, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

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)