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The Problem with Religious Moderation From Sam Harris

#921 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 08:46

 nige1, on 2014-April-16, 07:53, said:

Some religious people do care about holding true beliefs.

Even besides mikeh's response, I meant that for these people there will be a gnawing doubt that will cancel out the psychological benefits of their beliefs. Maybe you disagree with that, fine by me, but I suspect that with any individual case where we'd disagree, we would most likely disagree on the definitions of words like "true," "care," and so on. And it's all vague anyway, how will we ever measure what a net benefit to life is? I guess the only thing we learned in this thread was due to helene_t: That posting in this thread is not a net benefit to our lives and probably not a net benefit to mankind :)

This post has been edited by gwnn: 2014-April-16, 08:58

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#922 User is offline   Codo 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 14:25

 gwnn, on 2014-April-15, 08:16, said:

I trust that study more than your personal opinion, sorry. What is more likely, that they made up their results in an evil conspiracy or that your impressions/personal opinion is biased? Sorry, it's a no-brainer for me. I do the same with my impressions and personal opinion.

I would guess that many of those 13% think all of the Bible is true without thinking through what that would mean to their day-to-day lives. But a poorly thought-out position is just another form of ignorance, and that just shows how the picture of nearly universal moderate, enlightened Christianity in Germany which has evolved their views significantly since the time of the Bible is just false.


So you think it is just my personal opinion that we do not burn witches, that we do not have slavery anymore?
Okay, no problem, many people have astoundig believes, you have yours.

I tried to write that I know that there are people who tells you and me that they live litereally folowing the words of the Bible. But if you confrontate them with several passages, like in Helenes example, they have no answer. They simply take a shortcut. They simple ignore the parts of the Bible they dislike.
So, they BELIEVE to live according to the Bible and that any single word in it is true? Well maybe. (Seems unbelievable to me, but...)
So maybe, they just claim it. And that is why the result of the study is simply wrong. It asked the wrong question. A "yes" to " Do you live according to the Bible" is no evidence that you do. A "yes" to "Do you take the words of the Bible literally" does not mean that you do.
But seeing your doings is one way to see whether or not people do follow their holy script word for word. . And so far I know NOONE who does follow all rules- and franctly, how would this be possible in the case of disputing rules?

This post has been edited by Codo: 2014-April-16, 14:40

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#923 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 15:40

 mikeh, on 2014-April-16, 08:06, said:

And how do they test that their beliefs are true? There's the rub. They can't, not in the sense of any objective, verifiable, test. It's been tried and without exception whenever religious belief is tested empirically, the results are never better than what would be expected if the beliefs lacked validity. Look up research into the effect of prayer, as an easy example.

So despite this nice-sounding platitude, in reality no religious person tests belief, and most would argue that it would be immoral to do so, since that would suggest they lacked that mainstay of delusional thinking: faith despite reason or evidence.
IMO you can't objectively test the truth of a moral belief, religious or not.
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#924 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 18:33

 mikeh, on 2014-April-16, 07:37, said:

Please note that I did not say that one should punish a pedophile for being attracted to children.

I did note what you didn't say. And I did note what you did say:

 mikeh, on 2014-April-15, 09:49, said:

Some beliefs are so harmful to others that we should not tolerate those who actively promote them

You said that we should not tolerate people who promote beliefs that you think are harmful.

And you made it clear that it wasn't a slip of the keyboard:

 mikeh, on 2014-April-16, 07:37, said:

IOW, I would support the ban of the organization


 mikeh, on 2014-April-16, 07:37, said:

Once again, I think you haven't understood my post, so your response misstates my argument.

Oh yes, I have understood it, since you wrote it so clearly. Your message was:

We should not tolerate people who promote beliefs that I [MikeH] think are harmful.

I think that this is a harmful, as well as hateful, belief, which obviously means that I will tolerate you despite the fact that you are promoting this belief.

Rik
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#925 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 19:53

 Trinidad, on 2014-April-16, 18:33, said:

I did note what you didn't say. And I did note what you did say:


You said that we should not tolerate people who promote beliefs that you think are harmful.

And you made it clear that it wasn't a slip of the keyboard:



Oh yes, I have understood it, since you wrote it so clearly. Your message was:

We should not tolerate people who promote beliefs that I [MikeH] think are harmful.

I think that this is a harmful, as well as hateful, belief, which obviously means that I will tolerate you despite the fact that you are promoting this belief.

Rik

Really? Really? This is what you think I meant? I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

You obviously have formed an image of who I am, and read everything I write in light of that image. I am not the evil, intolerant person you have clearly imagined me to be, and I suspect you are not the smug, self-righteous simplistic fool your recent postings make me imagine you to be either, so maybe we should stop responding to each other's posts...and I suspect the few remaining readers of those posts would appreciate it even more than we would.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#926 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 20:11

 nige1, on 2014-April-16, 15:40, said:

IMO you can't objectively test the truth of a moral belief, religious or not.

But you can, if you are able to think critically, examine the likelihood of any particular religion's god being 'real', and, to a lesser extent, examine the likelihood of the god explanation at all
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#927 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 21:07

 nige1, on 2014-April-16, 15:40, said:

IMO you can't objectively test the truth of a moral belief, religious or not.

 mikeh, on 2014-April-16, 20:11, said:

But you can, if you are able to think critically, examine the likelihood of any particular religion's god being 'real', and, to a lesser extent, examine the likelihood of the god explanation at all
What is the likelihood that "eating people is wrong" or "making money is good" or "we should get out of bed today" or "lunatics have a right to buy guns"? Do such beliefs depend on other unproveable assumptions, at best?
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#928 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 21:35

 nige1, on 2014-April-16, 21:07, said:

Are we in Pascal territory? For example, what is the likelihood that "rape is wrong" or "making money is good" or "we should get out of bed today" or "lunatics have a right to buy guns"? Do such beliefs depend on other unproveable assumptions, at best?

you keep dodging the question. The question is not about morals. Morals do not arise from religious beliefs. There is no causal connection between belief in an anthropomorphic god, such as the ones worshipped by, as far as I know, all organized religions, and the possession of moral values, despite the claims by such as fluffy that he would be a murderer if it were not for his faith...which I don't believe at all, btw.

The question isn't a moral one: it is whether there can be a rational approach to the question of whether a particular god or indeed any god entity is plausible and, if so, whether it is rational to 'worship' it.

This post isn't about the answer to the question: my views are pretty obvious. As has been said by wiser people than me: work out why you do not believe in the existence of the norse gods, or the gods of the greeks, or of hindus, and there is a pretty good chance that you will have worked out why I don't believe in your god.

Of course, that presupposes that you have some thought behind your rejection of the existence of other gods beyond an injunction from yours to have no other god but it. However, if your belief arises solely from being told to believe, and you don't think about why that direction might lack validity, you are too far gone for anyone outside your echo chamber to debate you :D
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#929 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 22:23

 mikeh, on 2014-April-16, 21:35, said:

you keep dodging the question. The question is not about morals. Morals do not arise from religious beliefs. There is no causal connection between belief in an anthropomorphic god, such as the ones worshipped by, as far as I know, all organized religions, and the possession of moral values, despite the claims by such as fluffy that he would be a murderer if it were not for his faith...which I don't believe at all, btw. The question isn't a moral one: it is whether there can be a rational approach to the question of whether a particular god or indeed any god entity is plausible and, if so, whether it is rational to 'worship' it.
This post isn't about the answer to the question: my views are pretty obvious. As has been said by wiser people than me: work out why you do not believe in the existence of the norse gods, or the gods of the greeks, or of hindus, and there is a pretty good chance that you will have worked out why I don't believe in your god.
Of course, that presupposes that you have some thought behind your rejection of the existence of other gods beyond an injunction from yours to have no other god but it. However, if your belief arises solely from being told to believe, and you don't think about why that direction might lack validity, you are too far gone for anyone outside your echo chamber to debate you :D
For the nth tiime: I'm certain of nothing. Of the different views of God, I don't know which is right. I don't think you can prove that God exists. Or even prove that the square root of minus one exists. IMO, most religions embody moral precepts because their aim is behaviour pleasing to God. Religious belief (just like secular morality) depends on unproveable assumptions.
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#930 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 02:13

 mikeh, on 2014-April-16, 19:53, said:

Really? Really? This is what you think I meant? I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I know that you don't think it is OK to not tolerate people who promote beliefs. In fact, you don't think that is OK at all. It's horrible. Freedom to express beliefs and opinions is extremely valuable and important to you.

... except when those beliefs are horrible beyond your imagination and, in your view, damage society. (And the examples you listed are horrible in the views of many people, including me.)

Now, if you and I are allowed to make an exception for those beliefs that are too horrible for our imagination then certainly others are also allowed to make similar exceptions. After all, we are not morally superior to the other N billion people on this planet.

  • Vladimir Putin thinks that promoting gay rights is horrible beyond his imagination and is damaging society.
  • The religious right think that promoting abortion or evolution theory is horrible beyond their imagination and is damaging society.
  • Kim Jong-un thinks that promoting freedom of speech is horrible beyond his imagination and is damaging society.

It is important to realize that - though they may seem outrageous to you and me - these are not outrageous ideas. They are well established, and widely accepted in and supported by their respective communities. At the same time, Putin, Kim and the religious right are perfectly correct that these will change their society, and, since they are happy with their society as it is, "change" means "damage".

So, if we want to promote evolution theory or free choice to the religious right, it is imperative that we allow pedophiles, or religious fanatics, to promote their ideas and beliefs, even if we think they are extremely harmful to society.... because others think the same about our ideas.

So, let the pedophiles and religious fanatics come and let them vent their opinions. We will beat them with our arguments ... and with our respect, rather than with our intolerance.

Rik
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#931 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 03:12

Warning: this post could become long. I know that I often express myself poorly and carelessly, this time I will do my best to avoid that.

 Codo, on 2014-April-16, 14:25, said:

So you think it is just my personal opinion that we do not burn witches, that we do not have slavery anymore?
Okay, no problem, many people have astoundig believes, you have yours.

No, that is not what I meant. Could we please stop talking past each other?

Quote

I tried to write that I know that there are people who tells you and me that they live litereally folowing the words of the Bible. But if you confrontate them with several passages, like in Helenes example, they have no answer. They simply take a shortcut. They simple ignore the parts of the Bible they dislike.
So, they BELIEVE to live according to the Bible and that any single word in it is true? Well maybe. (Seems unbelievable to me, but...)
So maybe, they just claim it. And that is why the result of the study is simply wrong. It asked the wrong question. A "yes" to " Do you live according to the Bible" is no evidence that you do. A "yes" to "Do you take the words of the Bible literally" does not mean that you do.
But seeing your doings is one way to see whether or not people do follow their holy script word for word. . And so far I know NOONE who does follow all rules- and franctly, how would this be possible in the case of disputing rules?

You said that they asked the wrong question. For the record, here it is:

study question said:

Which of these three statements comes closest to describing your feelings about the Bible?

And the answer I referred to was:

study answer said:

[The Bible is...] the actual word of God, which must be taken literally, word for word.

The study did NOT ask what you think it asked, namely "do you live according to the Bible."

Now, you seem to think that taking the Bible literally means following Old Testament law. Here are a just a few ways that I can think of right now how that could not be the case:
  • They think that it is literally true that God told the Jews to kill witches but it was never meant to be a universal law (this is a repeating theme in the following two). Mainly they think that the stories are all 100% true (Methuselah really did live to be 900+) but the laws are contextual.
  • They think that the New Testament simply cancels out the Old.
  • They think that God still sends new laws through the ruling class (Romans 13). I have heard this one before. This need not mean that God is changing his mind. It might mean simply that he is always optimising the laws to current circumstances. Think how a cylinder can look like a circle, a line, a square, etc. The law would be the same but we just get to see a particular time-dependent projection from it. I know this sounds absurd, but so is the whole idea of biblical literalism. I will stop including this warning to my points from here on.
  • They just don't know that the Bible talks about witchcraft because nobody told them and they just read other passages. This is where it's nice to have some snarky atheist friends who cherry pick the bad parts of the Bible. I know they are annoying and I myself am trying to stop talking about these parts but I think it can be a useful counterweight to the pastors who cherry pick the good parts of the Bible.
  • They know that witches should be put to death but they do not believe that witches exist any more.
  • They know that witches should be put to death but they are waiting for the 13% to grow to 50% or 66%, then they can make proper laws reflecting that.
  • They know that witches should be put to death but they are just unwilling to do the job themselves. Maybe they think it is a sin not to put witches to death but after all, they do all sorts of sin.

So no, taking the Bible literally is not equivalent to putting witches to death. My point was, however, a different one. My point was that your description of Christianity in Germany or in Europe is different to what the study would show us. Correct me if I'm wrong but you were talking about how in Europe/Germany, Christianity did not just rely on the Bible, they rely on new discoveries on science, history, maybe new revelations by God, etc. I still don't see how in this picture, 13% of answerers could possibly say that they think all of the Bible is literally true. Can you?

Your first reaction to the study was that you thought that the study was somehow not clean, as if there was a hidden agenda trying to prove that there are more people who take the Bible literally than actually are. Why would this be? I don't know.

Now you say "I know that there are people who tell you and me that they live literally following the words of the Bible." Well, yes, but that's not what I said in the first place and it's not just "there are," it is actually about half the Bible-reading population in all the countries of the study who think it should be taken literally. Put simply, about half the Christians anywhere are not the enlightened, meek, moderate Christians that you like to talk about. I know how people like to blow the paedophilia cases in the Catholic church out of proportion, I'm not a fan of that. But in this case I'm afraid the proportion is about 50%. I don't think it is fair of you to just ignore that 50% of Bible readers and just say that they are the exception to the rule. No, they are a very sizable number and it's more like you are the one who are just ignoring them.
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#932 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 08:01

 Trinidad, on 2014-April-17, 02:13, said:

I know that you don't think it is OK to not tolerate people who promote beliefs. In fact, you don't think that is OK at all. It's horrible. Freedom to express beliefs and opinions is extremely valuable and important to you.

... except when those beliefs are horrible beyond your imagination and, in your view, damage society. (And the examples you listed are horrible in the views of many people, including me.)

Now, if you and I are allowed to make an exception for those beliefs that are too horrible for our imagination then certainly others are also allowed to make similar exceptions. After all, we are not morally superior to the other N billion people on this planet.

  • Vladimir Putin thinks that promoting gay rights is horrible beyond his imagination and is damaging society.
  • The religious right think that promoting abortion or evolution theory is horrible beyond their imagination and is damaging society.
  • Kim Jong-un thinks that promoting freedom of speech is horrible beyond his imagination and is damaging society.

It is important to realize that - though they may seem outrageous to you and me - these are not outrageous ideas. They are well established, and widely accepted in and supported by their respective communities. At the same time, Putin, Kim and the religious right are perfectly correct that these will change their society, and, since they are happy with their society as it is, "change" means "damage".

So, if we want to promote evolution theory or free choice to the religious right, it is imperative that we allow pedophiles, or religious fanatics, to promote their ideas and beliefs, even if we think they are extremely harmful to society.... because others think the same about our ideas.

So, let the pedophiles and religious fanatics come and let them vent their opinions. We will beat them with our arguments ... and with our respect, rather than with our intolerance.

Rik

I appreciate the tone of this post.

And I appreciate that your view is politically correct and reflects a common view that all points of view have equal status and are entitled to be debated in public, even if that debate entailed a huge amount of propaganda and advertising. Thus a billionaire pedophile should be entitled to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, pounds, euros etc on advertising his view that having sex with a 4 year old is good for the adult and the child.

Now, that probably wouldn't work, I accept. However, another billionaire might respond with a campaign advocating the murder of the first, and offer a hundred million reward for doing the deed.

That would be acceptable to you?

If not, why not? Are you saying that it would be ok to offer the reward but not to do the killing? How would you distinguish between the moral culpability of the reward-offeror and the killer?

My view is rhat we are social animals and as such when we live in a society, the society is entitled to create rules, which rules constrain the range of permissible actions.

Some societies, indeed all of which I am aware, attempt to constrain thought as well, and I am not happy with that. I have no problem with socirty constraining action however


I would not want to live in a society in which there were no constraints against rape, murder, assault, selling untested and harmful drugs, failing to keep food clean, etc.

I think it naïve to say that one should allow someone to cry 'fire' in a crowded theatre, or to say that one should be allowed, in a room full of intoxicated people, to urge that they riot. I think it wrong that one should punish a person who shoots an abortion doctor on religious grounds yet permit a religious leader to take out ads telling people that god wants them to kill abortion providers. Lest you think I am picking on religion, I would think it wrong for a person to kill a priest or iman because an atheist had taken out ads saying that the only way to stop the evil of 'x' religion was to kill its ministers, and I think society can and should sanction the one who promoted the murder as well as the one who did the act.

I think that to assert otherwise is to idealize human behaviour and to ignore psychological realities. It is a sociological equivalent to the economic ideas of libertarianism.

Humans are not rational animals. We do not, as a species, make purely rational decisions, individually or collectively. That means, of course, that sometimes we enact constraints that some of us find abhorrent or misguided. The reality is that we are going to have constraints on behaviour and, unfortunately, we need them. I see no moral difference between saying thou shalt not kill and saying thou shalt not tell others to kill. It seems that you do. I wish that humanity was composed only of people who would ignore commands to kill, and then I'd have no problem saying that one shouldn't punish the promotion of murder. But we aren't that way as a species. Incite people enough, and some will act out. Look at the riots that happen in some muslim countries when a Koran is burned. If you remember back long ago (tho you may be too young) look at Jonestown.

Maybe the day will come when we, as a society, evolve to the point that people cannot be persuaded, by lies and appeals to prejudice, etc, to inflict harm on others. If and when that day comes, I doubt that we'd need many constraints at all. However, we don't live in that world and until we do, as social animals living in a society that constructs rules, we are entitled to say that some behaviours are prohibited, and that imo includes prohibiting the encouragement of the prohibited act.

The distinction I draw between allowing people to think, feel and believe as they choose, but not to be free to promote action based on that belief may seem arbitrary to you and maybe it is. Deciding where the dividing line is between an expression of one's feelings and advocating acting on those feelings may be difficult. I have no desire, for example, to say that a person cannot argue that abortion is wrong. I draw the line at advocating that one who kills an abortion doctor will be rewarded in heaven.

In a perfect world that distinction need not be drawn, since no one would be induced to murder. Until that day arrives, I endorse the right of a society to prohibit certain acts and the active promotion of those acts.

Edit: just to return the pedophile organization for a moment, since that is a concrete source of disagreement between us, the reason I support the banning of any organization that says that sex with young children is healthy is that I would hope that many people who have pedophilic urges are able to avoid acting out because they know that it is wrong to do so. Surely some of these unfortunate people would find their resolve slipping away if they saw that there was an active, acceptable campaign telling them that it was ok to have sex with a young child.

When my choice lies between allowing the promotion of sexual abuse of children or reducing the risk of such abuse, it is an easy decision to make. I say this knowing that one can easily make a slippery slope argument, and I don't say there is no merit to such arguments. I do say that if the choice is between no rules at all and some rules that need to be carefully chosen then, even with the inevitability that some of the rules being, to me at least, wrong...I go with the rules and hope that we can all choose the rules carefully. I'd love to live in a society where we needed no rules, but that hasn't yet arisen.
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#933 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 08:15

 nige1, on 2014-April-16, 22:23, said:

For the nth tiime: I'm certain of nothing. Of the different views of God, I don't know which is right. I don't think you can prove that God exists. Or even prove that the square root of minus one exists. IMO, most religions embody moral precepts because their aim is behaviour pleasing to God. Religious belief (just like secular morality) depends on unproveable assumptions.


Proof is subjective, anyway, so why use a clamor for proof in lieu of critical thinking? Why not use reason?

Which sounds most likely: ancient people attributed human emotions to super-beings to explain the unknown (thunder booms, "god is angry."), or an invisible spirit super-being created humanity and this super-being diplays human emotions, jealousy, anger, rage, etc.?

To believe the second reason is to reject the first reason - and that is why many of us who do not believe think that moderation is scary.
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Posted 2014-April-17, 08:25

 nige1, on 2014-April-16, 22:23, said:

For the nth tiime: I'm certain of nothing. Of the different views of God, I don't know which is right. I don't think you can prove that God exists. Or even prove that the square root of minus one exists. IMO, most religions embody moral precepts because their aim is behaviour pleasing to God. Religious belief (just like secular morality) depends on unproveable assumptions.


 Winstonm, on 2014-April-17, 08:15, said:

Proof is subjective, anyway, so why use a clamor for proof in lieu of critical thinking? Why not use reason?

Which sounds most likely: ancient people attributed human emotions to super-beings to explain the unknown (thunder booms, "god is angry."), or an invisible spirit super-being created humanity and this super-being diplays human emotions, jealousy, anger, rage, etc.?

To believe the second reason is to reject the first reason - and that is why many of us who do not believe think that moderation is scary.


I am more interested in proving that the square root of -1 exists. Imaginary? Who are you trying to kid? Why should I believe in something that is imaginary?

According to Wikipedia, zero is both real and imaginary. BOOM! (the sound of my head exploding).
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#935 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 08:32

 Trinidad, on 2014-April-17, 02:13, said:

I know that you don't think it is OK to not tolerate people who promote beliefs. In fact, you don't think that is OK at all. It's horrible. Freedom to express beliefs and opinions is extremely valuable and important to you.

... except when those beliefs are horrible beyond your imagination and, in your view, damage society. (And the examples you listed are horrible in the views of many people, including me.)

Now, if you and I are allowed to make an exception for those beliefs that are too horrible for our imagination then certainly others are also allowed to make similar exceptions. After all, we are not morally superior to the other N billion people on this planet.

  • Vladimir Putin thinks that promoting gay rights is horrible beyond his imagination and is damaging society.
  • The religious right think that promoting abortion or evolution theory is horrible beyond their imagination and is damaging society.
  • Kim Jong-un thinks that promoting freedom of speech is horrible beyond his imagination and is damaging society.

It is important to realize that - though they may seem outrageous to you and me - these are not outrageous ideas. They are well established, and widely accepted in and supported by their respective communities. At the same time, Putin, Kim and the religious right are perfectly correct that these will change their society, and, since they are happy with their society as it is, "change" means "damage".

So, if we want to promote evolution theory or free choice to the religious right, it is imperative that we allow pedophiles, or religious fanatics, to promote their ideas and beliefs, even if we think they are extremely harmful to society.... because others think the same about our ideas.

So, let the pedophiles and religious fanatics come and let them vent their opinions. We will beat them with our arguments ... and with our respect, rather than with our intolerance.

Rik


I don't think one has to look far to find examples where expression of beliefs led directly to violent action: Charles Manson, Jim Jones, etc. I think the point where your argument fails it in assuming that belief espousal and actions are unrelated. The actions of the Boston bombers can be attributed to a deeply held belief that the U.S. is an enemy of Islam - those ideas did not take shape in a vacuum, nor can the actions taken be removed from the ideology. The guilt for the action lies both with the brothers who built and placed the bombs and with the ideology that supports terrorism.
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#936 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 08:34

 ArtK78, on 2014-April-17, 08:25, said:

I am more interested in proving that the square root of -1 exists. Imaginary? Who are you trying to kid? Why should I believe in something that is imaginary?

According to Wikipedia, zero is both real and imaginary. BOOM! (the sound of my head exploding).


This can get quite dicey: what does it mean "to exist"? To get real picky, numbers do not exist in the real world in the sense they are ideas of expression developed by cogent beings to describe, in other words, they are subjective. The action of thinking certainly occurs, but thoughts of themselves are not objects that have shape and occupy a space.

Regardless of the definition of exist, this does not explain why one would chose to ignore the most likely scenario (that men created gods that look, think and act like men) and embrace the dubious idea that a superbeing created man and the superbeing has the same flaws as man.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#937 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 11:14

 mikeh, on 2014-April-17, 08:01, said:

I appreciate the tone of this post.

And I appreciate that your view is politically correct and reflects a common view that all points of view have equal status and are entitled to be debated in public, even if that debate entailed a huge amount of propaganda and advertising. Thus a billionaire pedophile should be entitled to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, pounds, euros etc on advertising his view that having sex with a 4 year old is good for the adult and the child.

Now, that probably wouldn't work, I accept. However, another billionaire might respond with a campaign advocating the murder of the first, and offer a hundred million reward for doing the deed.

That would be acceptable to you?

The short answer, and the analogue goes for the rest of your questions: It's against the law to pay for a murder. Therefore, it is not acceptable to me, since the law prohibiting that came into being as a result of democratic processes, with the approval of society.

But if someone states that he thinks it should be OK to pay for murder, urging for a change in the law, that is OK with me. I don't agree, of course, but that is a different matter.

Yelling "fire" in a theater is forbidden too. Furthermore, and I find this important, it is not voicing an opinion or point of view.

In the Netherlands, as in many other countries, there is a time each year when we remember those who fell in the second world war. A crowd of people gathers on a square in Amsterdam to have a minute of silence. A few years ago, half way through the minute, someone in the crowd started to scream hysterically. Predictably, there was panic and people git injured. The guy was arrested. (And later found not guilty by reason of insanity which to me seemed to be the right verdict.) We do not have unconditional freedom of speech. We have freedom to voice our opinion... at the appropriate place and time.

Rik
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#938 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 15:23

 Winstonm, on 2014-April-17, 08:15, said:

Proof is subjective, anyway, so why use a clamor for proof in lieu of critical thinking? Why not use reason?
Proof is usually meant to be objective; we're all trying to use reason :)

 Winstonm, on 2014-April-17, 08:15, said:

Which sounds most likely: ancient people attributed human emotions to super-beings to explain the unknown (thunder booms, "god is angry."), or an invisible spirit super-being created humanity and this super-being diplays human emotions, jealousy, anger, rage, etc.? To believe the second reason is to reject the first reason - and that is why many of us who do not believe think that moderation is scary.
"To believe the second reason is to reject the first reason". In this specific example, is Winstonm's reasoning correct? Why?

It seems reasonable to believe that there are three historical stages in explaining many phenomena: e.g. What is Thunder?
  • Magic: Anger of the gods.
  • Reason: Clouds banging together.
  • Science (observation and experiment): Shock-wave from expanding gas caused by heat from lightning.

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#939 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-April-17, 15:49

 nige1, on 2014-April-16, 22:23, said:

For the nth tiime: I'm certain of nothing. Of the different views of God, I don't know which is right. I don't think you can prove that God exists. Or even prove that the square root of minus one exists. IMO, most religions embody moral precepts because their aim is behaviour pleasing to God. Religious belief (just like secular morality) depends on unproveable assumptions.

 ArtK78, on 2014-April-17, 08:25, said:

I am more interested in proving that the square root of -1 exists. Imaginary? Who are you trying to kid? Why should I believe in something that is imaginary? According to Wikipedia, zero is both real and imaginary. BOOM! (the sound of my head exploding).
Sorry. What spawned this red herring is the half-baked idea that the parsimony heuristic (Ockam's razor) isn't always appropriate:
  • When you try to prove properties of whole numbers, complex numbers can be a powerful tool in your investigation.
  • When you study the properties of a geometrical figure, it's often revealing to add seemingly superfluous constructs.
  • Can you completely tile an 8X8 matrix of squares, missing diagonal corners, with 2X1 dominoes? You can arrive at the answer more easily if you colour alternate squares like a chessboard. (Mutilated chessboard problem)
  • Similarly, when considering moral values, we can speculate whether God, Good, and so on are useful ideas .

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Posted 2014-April-17, 16:54

 Trinidad, on 2014-April-17, 11:14, said:

The short answer, and the analogue goes for the rest of your questions: It's against the law to pay for a murder. Therefore, it is not acceptable to me, since the law prohibiting that came into being as a result of democratic processes, with the approval of society.

But if someone states that he thinks it should be OK to pay for murder, urging for a change in the law, that is OK with me. I don't agree, of course, but that is a different matter.

Yelling "fire" in a theater is forbidden too. Furthermore, and I find this important, it is not voicing an opinion or point of view.

In the Netherlands, as in many other countries, there is a time each year when we remember those who fell in the second world war. A crowd of people gathers on a square in Amsterdam to have a minute of silence. A few years ago, half way through the minute, someone in the crowd started to scream hysterically. Predictably, there was panic and people git injured. The guy was arrested. (And later found not guilty by reason of insanity which to me seemed to be the right verdict.) We do not have unconditional freedom of speech. We have freedom to voice our opinion... at the appropriate place and time.

Rik


The example of paying for murder isn't quite what I suggested...but close enough for your point to be valid, but what about my example of a preacher saying that anyone who killed an abortion doctor was sure to go to heaven? Or an iman telling young muslims that strapping on a bomb and blowing oneself up on a bus full of civilians would ensure a place in paradise, and so on? I am not speaking of a specific one-on-one training or instruction: I am speaking about sermons, etc, that inculcate a belief in psychologically vulnerable people. I don't see how you can condone allowing people to advocate violence against others merely because of their (non-aggressive) values, or ethnicity, and so on.

My rule for what I would tolerate requires dividing intolerance into two types.

Primary intolerance is the advocating of actions that would cause harm to people who did not subscribe to the notions being advanced. Thus an iman saying that martyrs who murdered infidels would go to paradise, or a preacher saying that anyone who murders an abortion provider is doing a holy act, or a pedophile advertising the idea that sexual activity with a child below the age of consent is normal and ok: those types of actions are primary intolerance (I agree that defining the pedophile example as being intolerant is arguably wrong...the pedophile is not expressing intolerance, but my point is that the actions I would place into the primary category consist of actions wherein one identifiable group inflicts or promotes the infliction of harm on others)

I would tolerate all points of view, and all advocacy of points of view that do not fall into this category. I would be intolerant of any person who practiced or advocated the practice of such primary intolerance. That intolerance is reactive or secondary intolerance and it is very narrowly constrained and doesn't get triggered by any conduct or speech except conduct or speech that promotes or causes harm (I mean injury or death) to non-consenting subjects.

Note that this approach doesn't impact on freedom of speech unless the speech has as one of its aims the infliction of injury on others. For example, preachers could advocate for the prohibition of abortion, and could say that an abortion provider will surely rot in hell....he or she just can't advocate giving the provider a head start. A pedophile could advocate that pedophiles ought not to be jailed for their conduct when they abuse children....he just couldn't tell others that it is ok and a good thing to sexually abuse a child.

I suspect that you had an impression of my attitudes as being far more intolerant of divergent opinion than I hope you now see.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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