Author Topic: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion  (Read 48120 times)

Offline Andromeda

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #105 on: January 19, 2013, 06:00:15 AM »
Excuse me? I will certainly get upset when someone accuses me of dishonesty where there is none.
As the word "dishonesty" seems to antagonize you, perhaps you can come up with a better one for a person who follows certain rules for everything except for one thing, which is for reasons not given exempt from those rules.

You have got to be kidding!




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Many people's belief in their god or gods does not affect others significantly either. You are taking the worst excesses of religious oppression and tarring all religions and religious people with the same brush.
I'm not sure where I have done that, but for the main religions, one part of the situation are the moderate believers, who either silently approve or at least don't vocally object the actions of the more fundamental believers. How often do you see Muslims decrying for example the recent US embassy attack? Or Buddhists denouncing the Buddhist-led acts of violence in Asia?

Of course there are different kinds of believers, and it hasn't been my intention to put them all into the same basket.


Googling for "Muslim decry US embassy attack" and there are several examples of what you claim isn't happening.

Remember, those who shout the loudest get the most media attention.  News agencies prefer to feature the screaming violent minority because it sells more papers than the quiet majority calling for peace.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 06:03:48 AM by Andromeda »
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'" - Isaac Asimov.

Offline Valis

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #106 on: January 19, 2013, 06:07:29 AM »
The reasons are given: the rules cannot be applied.
As I've already said, there doesn't seem to be any common ground on this, so there's little point in continuing it. My point is that a religious belief is one big claim about the world, and I don't see how it could be exempt from burden of proof, even if you are just making the claim to yourself.
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You have already conceded that things like which movie or music you like best are irrational. Is that being dishonest? Must a scientist refuse to acknowledge his preferences for a certain music because he cannot justify it to himself and others? If not, why is holding a religious belief dishonest?
Preferences in art are not positive claims about the world.
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Actually quite a few. It just doesn't get as much front page media attention as the atrocities themselves. Nonetheless I have seen numerous news reports, blog entries, and personal conversations where muslims, for example, have denounced the extremists and terrorists who claim to be acting in the name of their religion.
Then why aren't the moderate Muslim outcasting the fundamentalists en masse?

Offline Andromeda

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #107 on: January 19, 2013, 06:12:02 AM »
There is a difference between believing something (a passive process) and making a claim about it (active).

Bear in mind this is something I am currently studying in-depth for professional qualification.
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'" - Isaac Asimov.

Offline Valis

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #108 on: January 19, 2013, 06:15:18 AM »
There is a difference between believing something (a passive process) and making a claim about it (active).
So believing in say the atomic theory doesn't require evidence?

Offline Andromeda

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #109 on: January 19, 2013, 06:19:38 AM »
There is a difference between believing something (a passive process) and making a claim about it (active).
So believing in say the atomic theory doesn't require evidence?

No.

Claiming to others that it is fact does.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 06:26:52 AM by Andromeda »
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'" - Isaac Asimov.

Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #110 on: January 19, 2013, 06:21:19 AM »
I don't see how it could be exempt from burden of proof, even if you are just making the claim to yourself.

And my point is you can't apply burden of proof in the first place, since there is no possible way to prove it. It's not an exemption: it's a completely different ball game.

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Preferences in art are not positive claims about the world.

No, but they are irrational.
 
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Then why aren't the moderate Muslim outcasting the fundamentalists en masse?

Such 'outcasting' is precisely why we don't just have one huge version of each major religion. Why we have protestants, catholics, methodists, sunni muslims, shiite muslims, islamists and so on. Why there have been many wars of religion. It does happen and is happening.
"There's this idea that everyone's opinion is equally valid. My arse! Bloke who was a professor of dentistry for forty years does NOT have a debate with some eejit who removes his teeth with string and a door!"  - Dara O'Briain

Offline raven

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #111 on: January 19, 2013, 06:27:25 AM »
Why we have Trekkies verses Trekkers . . .

Offline Valis

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #112 on: January 19, 2013, 06:29:48 AM »
Claiming to others that it is fact does.
Why are others required? I've already made the claim to myself, and I honestly can't see how I could take it as likely true if I didn't also justify the belief to myself.

What you are saying is that all beliefs are equal, as long as they exist only in the head of the believer. This is certainly not the case.

Offline Halcyon Dayz, FCD

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #113 on: January 19, 2013, 06:33:30 AM »
"Aggressively secular societies". They were not that. In all cases the leader became "God". And the people, to a horrible degree, were true believers.
There are some interresting paralels between marxism-leninism (in its muliple incarnations) and eschatological cults.
(Marx was raised in the Prussian Lutheran Church.)

"The forces of history" is God.
Marx is its Prophet.
Revolution is the End Time struggle.
Lenin/Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot etc. is the Second Coming.
Communism is Heaven on Earth.

Marxism likes to dress itself in sciency gobbeldygook, but Marx, or anyone following in his footsteps, have never been able to actually proof their basic premisses.
Like pretty much all ideologies it's faith based.

ETA: This probably explains why regimes based on such ideologies tend to clamp down on organised religions.
Nobody likes competition.

I don't see how it could be exempt from burden of proof, even if you are just making the claim to yourself.
And my point is you can't apply burden of proof in the first place, since there is no possible way to prove it. It's not an exemption: it's a completely different ball game.
Why?
Why would you want to exclude the believe in the supernatural from rational inquiry?

Without it it will never become knowledge. Something much better than mere believe.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 06:36:02 AM by Halcyon Dayz, FCD »
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Offline Andromeda

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #114 on: January 19, 2013, 06:36:05 AM »
Claiming to others that it is fact does.
Why are others required? I've already made the claim to myself, and I honestly can't see how I could take it as likely true if I didn't also justify the belief to myself.

Others are required because making the claims out loud or acting on them can and will have an effect on those others.  If the beliefs stay inside a person they have no effect on anyone but them and therefore it is that person's choice how they deal with those beliefs.


You choose to justify your own beliefs to yourself and that is just fine, but you cannot insist on telling other people how to think without them being affected.


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What you are saying is that all beliefs are equal, as long as they exist only in the head of the believer. This is certainly not the case.

No, I'm not.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 06:39:04 AM by Andromeda »
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'" - Isaac Asimov.

Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #115 on: January 19, 2013, 06:37:11 AM »
Why are others required? I've already made the claim to myself, and I honestly can't see how I could take it as likely true if I didn't also justify the belief to myself.

Fine, that's your view. Why do you think others are obliged to share it? I am quite comfortable with accepting that some beliefs are simply irrational and unjustifiable by any such means, so I don't feel the need to justify my beliefs to myself. If you do then fine, but that's your view, and not one that needs to be shared by anyone else. Otherwise you're doing what you claim is so bad: telling others how they should think and feel.
"There's this idea that everyone's opinion is equally valid. My arse! Bloke who was a professor of dentistry for forty years does NOT have a debate with some eejit who removes his teeth with string and a door!"  - Dara O'Briain

Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #116 on: January 19, 2013, 06:43:10 AM »
And my point is you can't apply burden of proof in the first place, since there is no possible way to prove it. It's not an exemption: it's a completely different ball game.
Why?
Why would you want to exclude the believe in the supernatural from rational inquiry?

Without it it will never become knowledge. Something much better than mere believe.
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I don't want to exclude it. And there's not just one level of supernatural. Lots of things have been thought of as supernatural and are now considered natural. Rational enquiry has done that and done it well.

However, if we are talking about an omnipotent entity that can control the entire universe and the framework on which we base our rational enquiry, how can we possibly test it? Rational enquiry requires that framework to be fixed somehow. There is no basis for testing the existence or otherwise of an entity that can do anything it likes. For one thing it can simply ignore the test!

In Star trek Voyager the producers were worried about including Q in too many episodes because he could simply snap his fingers and send Voyager home, short-circuiting the entire premise of the series. John DeLancie pointed out that Q could simply refuse to do it because he has that choice. So it is with rationally trying to test the existence of a god or gods. If they can do what they want, how can we formulate a falsifiable hypothesis on which to test them?
"There's this idea that everyone's opinion is equally valid. My arse! Bloke who was a professor of dentistry for forty years does NOT have a debate with some eejit who removes his teeth with string and a door!"  - Dara O'Briain

Offline raven

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #117 on: January 19, 2013, 06:48:21 AM »
The very basic framework  of science is faith.  Postulates are taken on faith as a staring point, but are not themselves proven. It is by faith alone we know we can even have observations that can lead to truth.

Offline Valis

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #118 on: January 19, 2013, 07:00:17 AM »
The very basic framework  of science is faith.  Postulates are taken on faith as a staring point, but are not themselves proven. It is by faith alone we know we can even have observations that can lead to truth.
I'm in a rush, so I'll try to answer the posts of Andromeda and Jason Thompson later today, as they take more thinking, but for this one, I have a quick reply:

While you may be right from a philosophical point of view, science has long since transcended such objections, for the reason that it works. Science is unique in the sense that it's repeatable from the very beginning, and it continues to produce predictions that are later found to match the observed reality.

Offline raven

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Re: Tyson, Dawkins, and religion
« Reply #119 on: January 19, 2013, 07:23:43 AM »
Yes, this is pretty pedantic, but it is still important to realize nonetheless. More practically, every so often we find old axioms and principles overturned by new results.
Even Einstein, who helped change the way we think about the universe, had a very difficult time accepting quantum mechanics.
Science is a beautiful thing, but it is not the only thing.