[Previous] Helping Resource Budget | Home | [Next] Improving The World With Written Discussion Rules

Elliot Temple on March 1, 2019

Comments (21)

Faith: religion vs evolution

Hi Elliot,

You invited me to a discussion on your forum after a brief engagement on twitter: https://twitter.com/curi42/status/1101697954782490624.

My claims are:

(1)

- religion *requires* faith (and thus anti-rational memes)

- atheism is *orthogonal* to faith in general, and is specifically the rejection of faith in regards to religion.

(2)

- people can rely on good explanations to make the case that evolution is true (either by understanding it on relying on a good explanation that the scientific consensus, that evolution happened and is happening, is true.

- religious people can't rely on good explanations to assert all the claims in their faith. Instead they require ignoring or shielding from criticism.

--

In response to your tweet in the above link:

>"Tons of people believe in evolution in just the same way as they believe falsehoods like global warming.

Global warming is not a falsehood. I don't know what you mean by that. I suggest we park this specific issue for now as I don't think it's relevant.

Atheists, like anyone can rely on faith. Many people are for or against things like climate change or evolution without understanding it. A bigger predictor of one's position on climate change is political affiliation rather than understanding it.

>People, religious are not, make mistakes, think badly or well, are gullible or not, etc. You're wrong to draw a sharp distinction. & overall in general, US xians > US atheists"

I never claimed atheists don't make mistakes or don't rely on faith. You're misattributing that to me. I also suggest we park the issue of agreeing on a metric and then a way to measure who's better out of christians and atheists as it's irrelevant to my claim anyway.

--

You are (hopefully not dishonestly) making new claims that are distractions and you are misattributing my position.


CB at 7:10 PM on March 2, 2019 | #11931 | reply | quote

> - religion *requires* faith (and thus anti-rational memes)

Today, or always? Many Christians have crafted logical arguments for God's existence, and other matters, which they believed to be correct. Do you know much about the role of religion in Athenian life and think that required faith, too?

> - religious people can't rely on good explanations to assert all the claims in their faith. Instead they require ignoring or shielding from criticism.

Do you have in mind, in particular, *empirical* religious claims, especially God's physical existence? Many religious people do not believe all the empirical claims of their religion are true, including not believing in God literally or not believing in a God that is a person who listens to their prayers. Some Christians accept evolution. So is your statement meant to include all religious people, or just certain types?

And this relates to the issue of *when*, above, since a religious Greek wouldn't have needed to shield his religious beliefs from the sort of criticism of religion that exists today, since it didn't exist then. And I guess it's some specific, modern criticisms that you think ought to persuade religious people, and if they won't listen, that shows they are irrational. Is that right?

> - people can rely on good explanations to make the case that evolution is true (either by understanding it on relying on a good explanation that the scientific consensus, that evolution happened and is happening, is true.

Science doesn't work by consensus.

People are told there is a scientific consensus about evolution, about global warming, about transsexuality, about schizophrenia, and so on. Because the "scientific consensus" is polluted with political issues and other things, some of which are false, people are reasonable to be wary of it. Applying the "scientific consensus" idea too broadly has created skepticism and discredited it in many people's eyes, which seems reasonable to me, not irrational. That leaves people wondering where to draw the line. They still accept the "scientific consensus" that the Earth isn't flat, but it's not clear to them that evolution should be in that category, rather than in the political abuse category. I don't see how/why they should clearly know better.

To the extent that something somewhat similar to consensus or trusting experts is a valid method, doesn't it apply to priests just as much as to scientists? If a person finds his local priest is wise about X and Y, then trusts him about Z, how is that different than a person who found science was wise about X and Y and then trusted it about Z? Or a person who found his car mechanic was wise about X and Y, then trusted him about Z.

Also can you explain what you mean by "faith"?


curi at 8:55 PM on March 2, 2019 | #11935 | reply | quote

>Today, or always?

Today, religion requires static memes - do you agree? Atheism doesn't require static memes - do you agree?

Religion always requires static memes in so far as its claims depart from reality. Do you agree?

--

We need common knowledge on what religious thinking or religion means.

Rejecting all specific religious claims that are bad explanations or are falsified wouldn't be religious thinking, it would be rational thinking. To extent that a religious person is doing this, they are acting less religious.

In contrast, religious thinking is accepting claims based on doctrine (even if they are bad explanations or falsified).

Religious thinking is an example of faith based thinking and appeal to authority. Someone can have faith in evolution. However, the claim that evolution via natural selection is true doesn't *require* faith.

Curious: do you think it's less bad if someone has faith in something that happens to be true knowledge than id someone has faith in something that has been adequately criticised?

--

I agree people should be sceptical of "scientific consensus" *especially* if the topic has become political. When someone doesn't understand a specific issue, they should apply their judgement that sufficient error correction is happening amongst experts. If they notice a priest or a scientist ignoring criticism, they should be more sceptical of it.


Anonymous at 10:41 PM on March 2, 2019 | #11938 | reply | quote

> Religion always requires static memes in so far as its claims depart from reality. Do you agree?

No. What? People can make mistakes without it being static memes.

> I agree people should be sceptical of "scientific consensus" *especially* if the topic has become political.

OK then I broadly don't see what's wrong with many Christians being skeptical of evolution – which neither they nor their atheist friends/acquaintances/debate-partners understand, and which is politicized.

> Curious: do you think it's less bad if someone has faith in something that happens to be true knowledge than id someone has faith in something that has been adequately criticised?

Non-truth-seeking methods are equally bad regardless. But in the past one could use state of the art truth seeking methods and conclude e.g. that the Earth is at the center of the universe. Today, because the refutation is well known, and truth seeking methods have improved, it's extremely implausible to do honest truth seeking and make that mistake.

---

Do you accept that religions contain some rational, useful, good parts? So a person can be religious partly (maybe even primarily or entirely?) because he likes those parts?


curi at 10:50 PM on March 2, 2019 | #11939 | reply | quote

If a religion contains rational, useful parts it is in spite of religious thinking, not because of it.

You didn't address this section, which I think is key:

>Rejecting all specific religious claims that are bad explanations or are falsified wouldn't be religious thinking, it would be rational thinking. To extent that a religious person is doing this, they are acting less religious.

>In contrast, religious thinking is accepting claims based on doctrine (even if they are bad explanations or falsified).

>Religious thinking is an example of faith based thinking and appeal to authority. Someone can have faith in evolution. However, the claim that evolution via natural selection is true doesn't *require* faith.


Anonymous at 12:04 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11940 | reply | quote

> If a religion contains rational, useful parts it is in spite of religious thinking, not because of it.

You seem to be defining religious thinking as whatever is bad and dumb (and associated with a religion), rather than e.g. whatever is part of a religious tradition of thought like Christianity (a tradition that includes some good thinking). I think that's unfair.


curi at 12:07 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11941 | reply | quote

Yes, this seems to be where our disagreement lies.

I think the *core* of religious thinking is accepting claims *based on doctrine* rather than on good explanations, criticism, and empirical evidence.


Anonymous at 12:25 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11942 | reply | quote

Do you think that was the core of Athenian religious thinking, or do you not know much about that, or is your view focused on modern religious particularly Christianity, Judaism and Islam?

By your definition, tons of atheists are more religious (do more religious thinking – meaning doctrine-based thinking) than tons of Christians. Right?


curi at 12:29 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11943 | reply | quote

I'm most informed about the Abrahamic religions.

I'm unsure if you disagree with this claim?

>I think the *core* of religious thinking is accepting claims *based on doctrine* rather than on good explanations, criticism, and empirical evidence.

If not, what do you view as religious thinking or religion?

Religion has been notoriously hard to define by scholars. I don't mind what words we use, but an important distinction is between doctrine-based thinking and rational thinking.

There would be a subset of doctrine-based thinking (which I would call religious thinking) that includes supernatural claims & moral claims.

--

>By your definition, tons of atheists are more religious (do more religious thinking – meaning doctrine-based thinking) than tons of Christians. Right?

An atheist can use more doctrine-based thinking than a religious person.

It's an empirical question, but I'd guess there are many atheists who rely on doctrine-based thinking more than religious people.

However, atheism is *orthogonal* to doctrine-based thinking in general and specifically rejects it in regards to religious claims.


Anonymous at 12:55 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11944 | reply | quote

It would be helpful if you explained what you mean by the following:

-religious thinking

- religion

- atheism


Anonymous at 12:57 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11945 | reply | quote

Religions are specific things like Christianity. They have some commonalities like addressing big questions like the purpose of life. The criteria for being a religion aren't carefully defined, so there are edge cases and I haven't tried to figure them out cuz it's clear which major ideas are a religion or not. I disagree with calling Marxism a religion or saying that atheists are "religious" in their own way – they may be just as irrational as religious ppl, and in many of the same ways, but atheism is not a religion and I don't think the term "religion" should mean anything like "irrational thinking". (It's fine to point out many atheists are religious in the sense that they hold many Christian beliefs, they rejected God while keeping lots of the rest. Cuz then the point is they believe Christian beliefs, so it's religious cuz it's Christian.) Religious thinking is thinking associated with these traditions of thought, and includes lots of moral philosophy superior to that in The God Delusion.

Superstition is *not* religious thinking b/c "black cats are bad luck" is not an idea that comes from a religion. (afaik. i haven't actually checked if it's in Wicca or something.) Superstition in general is a separate body of thought than Christianity and, while a bit vague about what exactly it includes, I think it's defined enough to be meaningful and reasonably distinct. It includes believing in ghosts, luck, astrology, ESP, various things that might be debunked by someone like James Randi or Mythbusters (but certainly not all things they cover), etc. We have cultural intuitions about what's included, like 4 leaf clovers or not stepping on cracks. Also superstitions aren't spread as a doctrine (having doctrine is a standard part of religion), they spread differently, i think (i don't know a ton about it, but they seem to get picked up in a more disorganized and unintentional way).

> It's an empirical question, but I'd guess there are many atheists who rely on doctrine-based thinking more than religious people.

OK well then a lot of our disagreement seems to be terminology.


curi at 1:07 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11946 | reply | quote

Critical Rationalist thinking is another example of a tradition of thought. It's hard to define exactly which ideas fall within it or not (lots of Popper fans have thoughts which aren't very good, and it can be controversial who to disqualify), but we can still loosely define it and it's a useful concept. There are ppl who like Popper and are building on his ideas so we want a term for grouping those related ideas together.

Similarly the are priests who like Christianity and try to interpret the Bible better and build on those ideas. So their thinking is Christian thinking, it's part of that tradition of thought.

Religious thinking is a category that includes multiple traditions of thought (christian thinking, jewish thinking, etc).


curi at 1:16 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11947 | reply | quote

> I disagree with calling Marxism a religion or saying that atheists are "religious" in their own way

This is disagreeing with a fairly common view, as a way to explain what I think more, it's not a claim that you are doing that.


curi at 2:25 AM on March 3, 2019 | #11948 | reply | quote

There is only one God (Kek) and Pepe is his prophet.


Anonymous at 4:56 AM on March 6, 2019 | #11967 | reply | quote

I have a theory on why Jews invented the Jesus stories. To subvert the western civilization. Christianity was the Cultural Marxism of that era.


Anonymous at 2:40 PM on April 29, 2019 | #12234 | reply | quote

> I have a theory on why Jews invented the Jesus stories. To subvert the western civilization. Christianity was the Cultural Marxism of that era.

Explain a lot more?


curi at 2:40 PM on April 29, 2019 | #12235 | reply | quote

Reflections on the Christ Myth

by Revilo P. Oliver

http://www.revilo-oliver.com/rpo/Reflections.html


Anonymous at 7:52 AM on June 28, 2019 | #12919 | reply | quote

#12919 It's kinda interesting. Some of the anti-semitic comments, scattered throughout, are nasty. But I just got to this one which is fucking egregious (emphasis added):

> (23. The Jews never miss an opportunity for *Holohoaxing*, so they produced lurid accounts of the thousands and thousands of Yahweh’s darlings who were martyrs to the True Faith apd slain by the awful "pagans."


Anonymous at 1:51 PM on June 28, 2019 | #12920 | reply | quote

![]https://imgoat.com/uploads/0e190d8267/218707.jpg


Anonymous at 12:38 PM on July 2, 2019 | #12948 | reply | quote

![https://imgoat.com/uploads/0e190d8267/218707.jpg]


Anonymous at 12:40 PM on July 2, 2019 | #12949 | reply | quote

Don't post naked pictures of people's asses here. You can link to them but you ought to give a warning like NSFW. Don't post them as actual images that will show up here.

BTW, I see that your competence at following simple instructions for how to format an image comment matches your taste in images. That's actually convenient and not a coincidence.


curi at 12:45 PM on July 2, 2019 | #12950 | reply | quote

(This is an unmoderated discussion forum. Discussion info.)