Senate Atheism 4.0 - Now Discussing: Religiosity and intelligence

Discussion in 'Community' started by Lowbacca_1977, May 18, 2010.

  1. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Agreed, it is not the same as religion, but it is a belief in some actual ideals which inform your worldview, as opposed to atheism which is not a belief in any ideals other than the view that there is no god or gods.
    Last edited by LostOnHoth, Jan 12, 2014
  2. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I would still say that I don't think atheism is even a belief. I don't believe there's no gods, I just don't presume that there are. It's a subtle, almost pedantic, difference, but one that I consider still is significant.

    I do also consider agnostic as an answer to a separate question than "Do you believe in a god", but rather "Do you think that questions about a god are knowable".
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    There are different questions.

    "There is an omniscient, omni-benevolent, afterlife-providing, universe-creating deity who has visibly and overtly intervened in human affairs at one or more point in recorded history."

    I have an active belief that the above statement is false.
  4. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    As with most human constructs, 'belief' and 'believe' have varying meanings and interpretations. It can mean being sure of something, it can mean suspecting something, it can mean trusting something. So there's no catch-all use of the word that could describe atheism or agnosticism. The inherent ambiguity of the word goes well with religion, not atheism/agnosticism.
  5. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Yeah, but the proposition that atheism is a "belief" is usually loaded with the 'accusation' that atheism of itself informs a worldview, that it requires adherence to some common behavioural edicts, such that you could predict an atheists opinions on something because of the edicts of atheism. This is of course completely false.
  6. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Upping.

    @Lord Vivec, @Ramza - wanted to discuss the religion of science in here, separate to Ramza's thread.

    What are your thoughts on this, as scientists and not scienticians? Is it annoying to hear someone scream how wonderful science is, only to use pseudo-science, pop-science, or Lamarckian evolution?
  7. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    I'll start by referring to the "I freaking love science" facebook page, in which science as been reduced to Carl Sagan quotes on pictures of space. Yes, you heard me right, doing science is making memes. It's a mix of laziness and the fact that people just don't have the time to learn everything but want to feel involved. That, while annoying, I can tolerate to some extent. I don't define that under the 'religion of science.' Instead, at least in my opinion, the religion of science is the wholesale replacement of religion with science. Scientific sounding answers take the place of theological answers. It's not enough that people don't know how something works. Lots of people don't know how things work. I barely know any chemistry, for example. Instead, they have to have to treat science like a religious person treats religion.

    Science makes decrees. Scientists are the priests who deliver God's Science's Word. A 'scientician' has memorized the age of the Universe and the words to the three most popular pieces of evidence for evolution. They've watched Cosmos and read Dawkins (photons be upon him). But they haven't *actually* spent any time really trying to understand any of it. They're winging it, really, and when asked to elaborate on what any of it means, the facade breaks down (quite hilariously, like in the other thread). It's also why they're more susceptible to bad science. "One guy at NASA says it'll work so it must work!"

    This is worse than the simple "I freaking love science" people. Because it's an added dimension. They argue the science fervently without actually knowing what any of it means. And in the end is does more damage than good. Because really, there's nothing anyone here on the JCC can say to a theist that will make him or her go "Oh I've been wrong the whole time." They have to actually educate themselves on it. No offense to any of you guys, but it wasn't really anything here that caused me to lose my religion. It was my own education that did it. The way to actually get people to become less religious is to get them an education. To get people interested in science, you can't science-textbook-thump them. You have to show them *how* science works, not *what* science says.

    I guess I veered off topic a bit. It's late. But the basic summary is that pretending science has given you all the answers isn't the way to go. You have to show people why science is worth doing, and that involves the uncertainties and "I don't know"s.
    anakinfansince1983 and Ender Sai like this.
  8. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Well, it's less annoying than seeing people screw up math, so take that as you will. :p

    But seriously, I got into chemistry (Later physics and math, nowadays math and logic with a healthy dose of m-phi) because of a pretty powerful desire to get some explanations. I think that maybe gives me a slightly different motivation from that of your average case study - I was driven into the bowels of science and math because I had a powerful love/hate relationship with high school science classes. Overarching assumptions, simplification of models, mathematical shortcuts - those all drove me bonkers. Still do, it's a curse. Then you see the internet lionizing this kind of lazy memetic
    [IMG]
    attitude Vivec was talking about and you kind of stop and ask yourself if it was even worth it.

    Probably not.

    Anyway, I think most people have a strong need for some kind of reaffirmation of the validity of their various decisions and a structuring element to the world, and since the secular crowd isn't going to get it out of a god they don't understand, they get it out of science they don't understand. It's not wrong or anything, there's probably a psychological element to it. But you mix that with the constant compulsion to argue with those we disagree with - which is only amplified on the internet - and you get parroting without understanding.

    Echo chamber that enough and combine it with the fact that not even most scientists can tell you about underlying structural assumptions in the field (Most of them have a vague understanding of pre-Kuhnian falsification, I find; honestly you don't need an operational understanding of philosophy to do science, so whatever) and you just get weird, overzealous devotion to a proxy god. Then they take up the cause, scientism, and decide they're going to wage war. And then they decide that the thing they think is science can address a bunch of questions it was never meant to address, which gets you stupid **** like that cat in the room nonsense, or they decide they get to make a call about what is and is not good science. It's a mess and like all messy worldviews it'll eat itself. I wouldn't be surprised if the bulk of them became converts to some religion or another somewhere down the road.

    I'm rambling and probably talking in circles. Here, Mr. Horse sums it up:
    Last edited by Ramza, Jul 7, 2014
  9. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Maybe it's the engineer in me (that's the field I started in, after all), but at some point you have to take the world at face value and go with it from there. It's why I don't think too heavily on epistomology while at work.
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  10. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
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    I'm in a pretty comfortable place right now where I don't have to take more for granted when I do math than I really want to, so... I guess I disagree, but I also acknowledge that that's not optimal for everyone - see my remark about how you don't really have to care to just "do science," Feynman's "shut up and calculate," etc.
    Last edited by Ramza, Jul 7, 2014
  11. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    [IMG]

    I'm sorry, I have no idea why I put that there.
    Sarge likes this.
  12. blubeast1237 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2007
    star 5
    You guys only seem to have a problem with people who don't like to say "I Don't Know." As far as meming science, I'm not seeing a problem with that. I'm in political theory and when I hear someone say "Communism can never work." I have to roll my eyes and just assume that they don't know what they're talking about because they are shortening decades of writing and theorizing. But, should I hold it against them that they are either a) wrong or b) shortening a wider sentiment. If your problem with memes is that they are not well thought out, then you problem is the internet and the different social clubs and cliques we form.lol

    My only problem when it comes to atheists and science is the idea that because you're an atheist, these answers have been bestowed upon you and are inaccessible to people of faith.That and people hold science up to be "the answers for everything." when in truth it, like most other fields, often creates more questions than it solves.
  13. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Uh what?

    1) the issue with the may-mays are that they're fundamentally stupid.

    2) the idea that atheism brings you access to secret scientific knowledge is laughable at best.
  14. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    It does in the sense that because you are no longer being blinded by religious belief, you are then more free to learn more about how things work.

    Religion discourages questions. Science seeks them out.
  15. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I find the effort here in the JC to vilify VLM pretty distasteful. Ender likes to single out members to bully about their ignorance, and Vivec has latched onto VLM like he's on a personal mission to destroy his psyche.

    I take this personally, not just because it's rude and makes you both look like ****ing ***holes, but also because it's completely wrong-headed. I have a professional degree, consider myself highly educated, and yet my hard science education more or less stopped at high school. Despite that, I'm intensely curious about chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, etc. and make a deliberate effort to throw books (intended for lay audiences) on hard science topics into my annual reading lists. I discuss science with my kids to let them know it's good to be interested in these things even though neither of their parents are the STEM types.

    I understand that you're trying to distinguish between two types of fools: those who think they know everything and those who know their own limitations, but there must be a better way than Ender's tedious jihad against people who like to read popular science articles in mainstream journalism.

    Can we at least start with a shared appreciation with people who themselves at least start with a shared belief that everything in the universe has a natural explanation and that we don't need recourse to superstition and fear as a foundation for our understanding, limited though it may be, of how things work?
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jul 8, 2014
    VadersLaMent, ukijedi, Sarge and 2 others like this.
  16. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I don't know what the hell is going on with the interpersonal dynamics among some posters and don't particularly want to know either, so I'm going to take a stab at this question.

    I was raised in a religious home, kept up with it some into adulthood, and left it because science just made more sense.

    I'm fine with unanswered questions, I don't need a "because God" response, and going back to the evil-and-suffering thread...a belief in a deity gives people someone to be pissed off at when things go wrong, or alternately, an excuse to flagellate yourself based on the assumption that bad things happened because you caused it through your bad deeds and God is pissed at you now. But I find both of those mentalities really counterproductive, and "**** happens" is a much easier explanation to accept. At that point we can move on to "And how do we deal with it, assuming that we can?"
    Jedi Ben likes this.
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I'm on a Lucretius kick, in case anyone's noticed. I've read A.E. Stalling's earth-shattering translation of The Nature of Things three times through now, enough to know that Lucretius and the Epicureans pre-configure all secularism and preempt Descartes, that had the canon of western philosophy and science been channeled through him, he would have bridged classical civilization into the modern world centuries earlier. We might have had twentieth century technology a thousand years ago. An Epicurean-influenced civilization taking root in the first century might have mounted a serious challenge to the rise and spread of of Christianity.

    Lucretius forms the basis for a tolerable "scientism" by placing a personal responsbility on everyone to be observers of the natural world and to free ourselves from superstition and fear. In the first pages of his poem he makes a call for the study of physics, astronomy, for the development of the theory of the mind, for agricultural science, climatology, biology. It is a revelation to read, an absolute masterpiece of literature and philosophy.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jul 8, 2014
  18. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    I'd like to preface this by saying that I have done my best to keep VLM's name out of this discussion, and it's Jabba2 who has brought VLM up.

    Jabba 2, frankly, you don't know what you're talking about. This isn't an attack on reading popular mechanics or going on io9. VLM and company aren't curious about STEM subjects. They have incorrect beliefs on various science topics and attack anyone who tries to explain why their science is wrong. Ramza, myself, Wocky, Ender, Lowbacca, etc. have repeated tried to explain to a certain crowd why their beliefs on a certain topic are wrong. They are not receptive to education.

    There is no better way than 'Ender's Jihad.'
  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    One of my strengths is knowing when I don't know what I'm talking about, and this is not one of those times. But you're not attempting to instruct and inform completely in vain. I read your comments, Wocky's, etc., and I believe I've learned a lot over the years. VLM isn't the only one reading your attempts to educate and inform.

    I like Ramza's approach -- trying to find a way forward with a new style of discussing science. It is very Epicurean of Ramza. I've bought my science primer per his instructions and will dive right in as soon as it shows up on my doorstep.

    Maybe what I'm trying to say is that it might help some people to stop "being" atheists or lay science cheerleaders and become Epicureans instead. There are some parts of Lucretius I can live without, but the parts that are good are so very, very, very good, and I just want to take a bath and soak for days and days in Stalling's rhyming hexameter.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jul 8, 2014
  20. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Ramza hasn't been any 'nicer' than Ender, Wocky, or I have been. He's just used bigger words.
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Yeah, but I'm talking about moving forward, and Ramza's PhilSci Book Club. Quixotic endeavors are a huge step up from the monotonous drumbeat of derision and scorn. Your circles of hell post, however: nose-snorting funny.
  22. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    1) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    2) I don't have the philosophy education Ramza has.
  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Read Lucretius and you will feel better about everything. I hope I'm getting that point across.
  24. blubeast1237 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2007
    star 5
  25. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7