A religious child?

skeptiform5
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A religious child?

 Hi guys. I have been reading and watching different things involving Richard Dawkins, and one of the things that repeatedly comes up is the 'religious child' argument which basically states that a child cannot have in formed religious beliefs, just like they cannot have  in formed political beliefs yet the son or daughter of a Christian is a Christian child the same if a son or daughter of a Jewish or Muslim  origin is automatically  a Jew or a Muslim. I know that many atheists, including me, have grown up with religious parents but have changed. I also know that if I have kids, I will not bring them up as an atheist but give them, get this, a choice.

       So, does anyone disagree with me in anyway? Maybe you think there's nothing wrong with that? 

Let the debate BEGIN! 

 

 


BobSpence
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I agree with Dawkins that it

I agree with Dawkins that it is absurd to consider a child as having any religion by default, purely based on the faith of its parents..

It seems to me that what people who refer to children as 'christian', or 'muslim', or whatever, are really doing is simply treating the child as their property, as already belonging to their faith.

You are right to treat the child as a new individual right from the start, with your obligation to support and inform them as they grow, and allow them as far as practical to make their own decisions.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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robj101
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I used to think I would give

I used to think I would give a child the choice as well, but since then I have decided that I would not likely promote or allow religion to be promoted in any way.

They leave the house and head out on their own they can play musical religions if they want but I would not have a hand in it.

I used to think of sending them to church or sunday school so they would have experience with it and a better understanding of people who are religious later on.

But really I would not inflict that on a child, it should be a crime to send kids to church for weekly brainwashing and the fear of Jesus and his hell.

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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robj101 wrote: I used to

robj101 wrote:

I used to think I would give a child the choice as well, but since then I have decided that I would not likely promote or allow religion to be promoted in any way.

They leave the house and head out on their own they can play musical religions if they want but I would not have a hand in it.

I used to think of sending them to church or sunday school so they would have experience with it and a better understanding of people who are religious later on.

But really I would not inflict that on a child, it should be a crime to send kids to church for weekly brainwashing and the fear of Jesus and his hell.

 

Well, that is what I did.  Unintentionally.  While I was going to church, the kids went too.  They were 12, 10, 5 at the time.  It was only about 2 years worth and then I quit going and they did, too.  I wouldn't keep sending them if I wasn't going to go.  Too much work getting them all ready.

So the results:  not one of them is religious now.  The youngest one had a bout of church going when he was about 20 until he figured out it was all talk and no action.  Then he dropped it as being all baloney.  They all seem to have a variant of my attitude: if you want to believe all that stuff, fine, but don't ask me to go along.  <warning: grandma brag>  And my grandson is fiercely atheist at age 14.  </grandma brag>

I think part of the reason is that they didn't start going until they were older.  I was a-religious and sort of agnostic when they were very young.  And I always went with science.  Even the church I went to was neutral to pro-evolution.  Nova and Carl Sagan were frequent TV visitors in my house.

I think that is the key.  Teach critical thinking and experimental methods early and often.  Do science experiments in your kitchen - a salad is a mixture, salad dressing is a suspension, salt or sugar water is a solution.  Cooking demonstrates the 2LOT.  The proteins in the egg denature when cooked.  Then, when they are older, introduce them to religion so they can see what some people believe.  Watch them as they stare in stunned disbelief.  Feel proud.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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There isn't going to be much

There isn't going to be much of a debate, as everyone here is going to agree with you unless some random theist pops in.

It is okay to tell our children what we believe, but we should not force our beliefs upon them. If we indoctrinate them with our worldview, then we are not much better than the fundamentalists. Instead of teaching them what to think, we should teach them how to think, to be open-minded and decide what's right for themselves. They will learn that truth is something to be discovered rather than obeyed.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Atheistextremist
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I think I'd

 

Work very hard at teaching the kid to judge evidence - that would be the bedrock for me. However, and this is a divergent position, I'd take a strongly anti-theistic viewpoint and I guess that would influence the child. This may cause a bit of a backlash but I am unable to see theists as complete people and if a child of mine became a god-person I'd be disappointed to say the least. I'm coming at this as some one with a fundy family - christians down to the very latest generation - who preach through toddler bibles to their youngster's unformed minds. I'm not sure at all, that accepting and not standing against theism constitutes good parenting. Would you accept the kid's choices on something like drug use or social misbehaviour, or strong Islam, OP?

To raise a child that believed, instrinsically, I was evil and deserved eternal torment - I and all others with a divergent viewpoint, would suggest to me I had failed to raise a child able to put their own interests to one side. A child with an empathy failure. Now, I know this is going to sound like am taking an evangelistic anti-theist position, but I think fundamentalist religion should not be given the tolerance it's given in the world. It should not be enshrined in our constitutions, it should not underpin our legal systems and it definitely should not be used to shape the minds of young children.

I'd go so far as accuse anyone who tried to teach my child about the god I grew up with of child abuse and my response would be intensely hostile. Now, I don't think those who grew up outside the church are going to understand this position too well, but those who grew up in fear of the clenched fist of god will know exactly what I mean.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist, I

Atheistextremist, I agree.

They should be taught the 'facts of life', in the broadest sense - IOW what is known with a fair degree of confidence about 'Life, the Universe, and Everything', and the basics of how that knowledge has been gained. At a level appropriate to their age and comprehension at each stage, of course. As early as possible, so they will be hopefully less susceptible to swallow crap that might be thrown at them by friends, teachers, the media, etc.

Show them how and where they can find out for themselves stuff about things people, even you, try to tell them.

Somehow try and inculcate in them the idea that we can all be wrong, they shouldn't just believe something because someone tells them it is true, no matter who they are.

Of course, I just know that some Theists will see even this advice as 'indoctrination' into 'scepticism', or even 'atheism'.

I see it as vaccination against 'faith' - unjustified belief of any sort.

Tell 'em that an honest confession that 'I don't know' is nothing to be ashamed of, far more honorable than just accepting some 'explanation' that makes no sense to them.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Church as punisment

 I will make my kids go to church as punishment when they are bad. 


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I disagree with the OP in

I disagree with the OP in the same was Atheistextremist does (I think).

 

Doing any less than informing my children on the reality of religion would be a failure at educating them.  Religion is not the same as irreligion, and informing children as to the irrefutable falsehoods of religion is not indoctrination- it's legitimate and crucial education.

I intend not only to both tell and show them what's what, but use apologetics as critical thinking exercises.  If my children can't confound a Jesuit by the age of five, I'll be woefully disappointed.

 

Indoctrination would be forcing my opinions on them- such as my not liking religion, or crack smoking. 

I'll let them make up their own minds about whether religion, or crack, is good or bad for society, and whether or not religion/crack is a plague on this Earth and her people. 

If they chose to become televangelists, provided that they know the facts, and that they don't really believe what they're preaching, those are their choices to make.

If they chose to smoke crack or become a drug dealer, provided that they know the facts, and don't actually believe it's healthy for them, those again are their choices to make.

They will, however, be informed.

 

 

Educate your children on facts; allow them to form their own opinions and make their own life choices.  The falsehood of religion is fact.  The ethics of that falsehood is opinion.


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Im late to the party but my

Im late to the party Sticking out tongue

but my question to u guys is

whether a child can make that decision for themselves ?

after all i chose to be baptized

what are you guys thoughts on that ?

 


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Blake and Atheist

"The falsehood of religion is fact."  Ha!  Tell that to Knewton, or the string theory boys you roll with--see how that's working out for you.  Better yet, take a trip to the other disciplines that investigate humyn behavior at a post-structural level.  Taste a bit of Agamben and question why he won't step foot on an American University.   Put your flag up, "Isolate and dismiss"--great dialogue. 

Your use of "fact" is like me saying "prove God doesn't exist"--C'mon

Extreme mask wearing guy:  child abuse is telling your children that those people over their are insane, stupid and are stealing our money, etc.  What's next, lock them up?  Your choice of language can be critiqued at many levels.  "look at at all the evils of religion"  Duh. . . bait and switch--leave it alone.  I'm discussing your accusation, and yours alone.  

 

Once again, I would like to see the data of how many of you are ex-Calvinists or fundamentalists?  

"So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah's ark is a problem." River


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butterbattle wrote:There

butterbattle wrote:

There isn't going to be much of a debate, as everyone here is going to agree with you unless some random theist pops in.

POP!!!

My question is, what would you atheists do, if your child would do things like... well, you know, talking to an invisible friend or fairies, claiming that he saw a dead grandma in dream (dead before his birth), or describe his past life as someone already dead from the family.

Not that this would be my case, my case is only similar, but I know a child or two with some of such a behavior. And I mean, it shows up pretty soon, as soon they learn talking but before reading.

So technically, would you regard this as a religion of spiritism, animism, or ancestor worship?
Another possibility is, to take the child to psychiatrist, just preventively.
And the dumbest possibility of them all is to tell the child that none of this really exists. For the child these so-called supernatural things are real and tangible, saying that they don't exist gives no sense, it's defying reality. A reasonable approach would be to assume, that there is some real cause behind this all. And it is no fantasy, it's non-intentional observation. Fantasy would require the previous intention. I assume here that this is something 100% inborn, as a hypothetical "inherent religion" would be. This is perhaps why animism keeps popping up among primitive societies.
WWAD? What would atheist do?

As for me personally, some weird things happened when I was young and the paranormal occurences didn't go much lower by the age. Perhaps that is thanks to understanding tolerance of my parents and abundance of esoteric literature in my house. The main benefit is, that my self-confidence and trust in parents were preserved.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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Luminon wrote:POP!!!Lol.

Luminon wrote:
POP!!!

Lol. Although, technically, he hasn't answered the most important question, so I'm asking him now.

Luminon wrote:
My question is, what would you atheists do, if your child would do things like... well, you know, talking to an invisible friend or fairies, claiming that he saw a dead grandma in dream (dead before his birth), or describe his past life as someone already dead from the family.

Hmmm, it would depend on my kid's age, and what my kid was doing. If my kid was five years old, I might ignore it or even play along with it. If he was old enough, like, 12, and claimed that there were unicorns in the backyard, I would be a bit worried and try to reason with the kid. 

Luminon wrote:
So technically, would you regard this as a religion of spiritism, animism, or ancestor worship?

For a little kid? None of those.

It's not a religion. It's just normal for a little kid to potentially imagine supernatural entities and phenomena lurking behind every corner. Well, that was an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Edit: Ah, you mean like, as a source. Well, ancestor worship seems more like an adult thing, after they've seen relatives die. Spiritism and animism are more instinctive here.

Luminon wrote:
Another possibility is, to take the child to psychiatrist, just preventively.

Nah.

Luminon wrote:
And the dumbest possibility of them all is to tell the child that none of this really exists.

Eventually, that is exactly what I would do. Of course, I'll wait until my child is an appropriate age to do it. Although, if my child hasn't figured out that it's all bull**** by then, I'll be extremely disappointed.

Luminon wrote:
For the child these so-called supernatural things are real and tangible,

Same for esoterics like you and the religious fundamentalists.

Luminon wrote:
As for me personally, some weird things happened when I was young and the paranormal occurences didn't go much lower by the age.

No offense, but I think that's just you, Luminon. Most people lost their extra "supernatural eye," as they get older. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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StDissonance wrote:Once

StDissonance wrote:

Once again, I would like to see the data of how many of you are ex-Calvinists or fundamentalists?  

I am neither. I was raised as a Reform Jew. I also fail to see how this affects anything. The atheists on this site disbelieve all religions. Not just Calvinism and Fundamentalist Christianity.

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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StDissonance wrote:"The

StDissonance wrote:
"The falsehood of religion is fact."  Ha!  Tell that to Knewton, or the string theory boys you roll with--see how that's working out for you.  Better yet, take a trip to the other disciplines that investigate humyn behavior at a post-structural level.  Taste a bit of Agamben and question why he won't step foot on an American University.   Put your flag up, "Isolate and dismiss"--great dialogue.   

You mean Newton? String theory is a religion? 

Anyways, if you had a kid, what would you do? Force Christianity on them? Lead by example? Teach them how to think? Make them go to church? Science? Philosophy? Critical thinking? Faith?

StDissonance wrote:
Once again, I would like to see the data of how many of you are ex-Calvinists or fundamentalists?

I never bought it. There was one time where I got close to becoming generic "born-again" Christian; that was all. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


BobSpence
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Newton was also into

StDissonance,

Newton was also into Alchemy. He was not an 'authority' on the ultimate nature of reality - he was great on math. His belief in God is not remotely relevant to the status of religion today.

You would be better using Francis Collins as an example of an accomplished and recognised contemporary scientist who has bought into the God bullshit, for clearly emotional reasons.

The fact is, the further you go up in the hierarchy of recognized scientists in the National Academy of Science, the fewer you find who take the God hypothesis seriously. 

String Theory is not put forward as a Truth, just as a possible explanation for a number of fundamental aspects of Physics. At least it is consistent, logically and mathematically, with current physics, unlike 'God'. The problem with it is that it is hard to devise an experimental test for it, because it is only predicts results measurably different from current physics under extreme or highly unusual conditions.

Unlike Theists, no proponent of String Theory will claim it as truth until a test can be devised and applied to verify some version of it. Your point is... ??

As the child acquires the ability to comprehend these things, they should be introduced to such ideas, and the different viewpoints people have, so they are aware of them, not to have any particular set forced upon them. At the very least, the undisputable FACT that no single religious idea, even the idea of a single creator being, is anywhere near universally accepted, should be made clear..

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


ex-minister
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Proverbs 22:6

 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

 I agree with Dawkins as does the Bible. It is pretty clear from the evidence. We are all born atheist, knowing no god. We have to be taught about Moses, Paul and Jesus.  I frankly believe we cannot help ourselves. Children look to their parents for guidance and if the parents are loving the child will follow their parents views on religion and politics. You might believe that it is important to expose your child to all beliefs because you want that for yourself. You might think Jeebus is the bomb and learning about evolution is evil. That will be passed on. I think in spite of ourselves we can do no other.  However, once the child grows up or rather as he grows up he questions. Perhaps the chains of religion will be thrown off - whoops did I give it away.

I grew up in a strong religious environment and followed it. The deeper I went into it the less it made sense which is typical. When literally read the bible is the best vehicle to becoming an atheist. This is why many atheist know the bible so well. My parents continue to believe, but they just listen to the preacher and let him pick out the nice parts. It is a social club with happy faces, lots of nice people who hardly realize the reality of the bible, twisted and morbid. "Stay out of Ezekiel" is what my minister  used to say when I was a young man.

 

I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


ex-minister
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marshalltenbears wrote: I

marshalltenbears wrote:

 I will make my kids go to church as punishment when they are bad. 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


Atheistextremist
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Well, StDis

StDissonance wrote:

"The falsehood of religion is fact."  Ha!  Tell that to Knewton, or the string theory boys you roll with--see how that's working out for you.  Better yet, take a trip to the other disciplines that investigate humyn behavior at a post-structural level.  Taste a bit of Agamben and question why he won't step foot on an American University.   Put your flag up, "Isolate and dismiss"--great dialogue. 

Your use of "fact" is like me saying "prove God doesn't exist"--C'mon

Extreme mask wearing guy:  child abuse is telling your children that those people over their are insane, stupid and are stealing our money, etc.  What's next, lock them up?  Your choice of language can be critiqued at many levels.  "look at at all the evils of religion"  Duh. . . bait and switch--leave it alone.  I'm discussing your accusation, and yours alone.  

Once again, I would like to see the data of how many of you are ex-Calvinists or fundamentalists?  

 

I'm not sure what relevance the falsehood or otherwise of religion has to do with this discussion. But I'm pretty sure fundamentalism driven home with a stick and sitting in the shadow of god threat would be child abuse if it related to any other aspect of human culture but religion - a prism that seems somehow beyond reproach or question. You've heard of hell, right? As for the general evils of religion - I don't recall mentioning this particular strawman at any time back there.

As far as I am concerned facts are nebulous concepts, endelessly open to the application of further evidence. It's the 'truth' about god that dropped anchor 2000-plus years ago and if that suits the way your mind operates, enjoy it.

In relation to your point: "child abuse being that those people over there are insane, stupid and stealing our money" I'm not sure if I'm dealing with a strawman or a misconception. In any case, in the context of this discussion I pointed out, as I always do, that I am the child of fundamentalists, with an end-to-end fundy family. I also end with the statement that those who did not grow up in the environment I did would not understand - I'm pretty sure that's you, StDis.

Of course, such things are subjective. My brothers and sisters grew up in the same family, are strong christians and looking forward to an eternity of going to sleep at night after jesus has brushed their shining hair.

I think a fundy upbringing is child abuse on the basis of my experience and my reading of the doctrine. You are free to offer an alternate opinion based on something actual any time you like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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sorry for late response

 Bob:

I mentioned Knewton and String Theory in the "fact" discussion.  I wasn't pointing to their religion, but to the changes they were a part of.   It is a "fact" that certain groups of people with health disorders are a strain on society that can be remedied by design and removal.  Thankfully, there are those of us that will not accept those "facts" and prevent those actions of "utility."  

"As far as I am concerned facts are nebulous concepts, endelessly open to the application of further evidence. It's the 'truth' about god that dropped anchor 2000-plus years ago and if that suits the way your mind operates, enjoy it."

AE:

Little snooty here.  Premise A is cool, the application of the "anchor" is quite a conclusion (reductio absurdium).  

I won't attempt to minimize your experience, that isn't my point.  I just feel quite comfortable in arguing that I don't abuse my children, nor am I crazy.  And to the contrary, I will defend myself of those accusations.  And "fundy" has many levels, just as "liberal" or "right wing."  Removing your children from society and creating a communal system of anarchy will have the same results as putting them in a religious commune.  Same shit, and it happens.

 

"So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah's ark is a problem." River


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butterbattle wrote:Hmmm, it

butterbattle wrote:
Hmmm, it would depend on my kid's age, and what my kid was doing. If my kid was five years old, I might ignore it or even play along with it. If he was old enough, like, 12, and claimed that there were unicorns in the backyard, I would be a bit worried and try to reason with the kid.
OK, what would the reasoning be like? In that case I'd go along the lines of, well, not scaring other people that can't see the unicorns, it's better to not talk about invisible unicorns to people who would not understand. But it's good to make observations that could eventually lead to explanation, and to make sure that this will not lead to problems in real life. You see, I'd prefer most reserved approach for young children in such a case.

butterbattle wrote:
For a little kid? None of those.

It's not a religion. It's just normal for a little kid to potentially imagine supernatural entities and phenomena lurking behind every corner. Well, that was an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Well, to be precise, I don't get the point. Take my example, there was and is this supernatural occurence around me, and I always knew what is the difference between imagination and reality. The reality is something that exists regardless of your effort, but imagination requires participation on your side. Reality, no matter how supernatural, doesn't start with you, it's an independent phenomenon. I had read these stories about kids telling lies, making things up, or fantasizing, but I've never seen it in practice.

butterbattle wrote:
Luminon wrote:
And the dumbest possibility of them all is to tell the child that none of this really exists.

Eventually, that is exactly what I would do. Of course, I'll wait until my child is an appropriate age to do it. Although, if my child hasn't figured out that it's all bull**** by then, I'll be extremely disappointed.

Observation is an observation. If an observation is made, then it's not bullshit, it just is. You cannot argue that the observation is not made, that would only undermine the child's confidence in you. Children cease to believe in Santa Klaus and tooth fairy because of a lack of observation and have better explanation. (parents did it) But contrarily, these invisible friends or whatever usually cease through pressure of authority, and nobody is concerned if they're real or not. I'm seriously concerned, because esoteric writings say that occurence of less or more clairvoyant children in population will gradually increase in this and next centuries, which will eventually broaden our notion of reality. But in the beginning it may mean many distressed conservative families.

butterbattle wrote:
Luminon wrote:
For the child these so-called supernatural things are real and tangible,

Same for esoterics like you and the religious fundamentalists.

I don't think this fits. Fundamentalists are believers with no evidence, that reassure themselves through emotions and extremism. Esotericists get their evidence through occult activities. I'm an extreme example of that, my etheric perception is a literally tangible evidence for me, always within my reach, among others. So I'm 100% certain that there is "something more", but just as well I'm aware how very little we still know about it, and how mistaken can people sometimes be. So I wouldn't judge anything prematurely, not even what children say. I was such a child, and I was right, and I had the luck to have tolerant parents that neither denied my observation, neither they invited an exorcist Smiling

butterbattle wrote:
No offense, but I think that's just you, Luminon. Most people lost their extra "supernatural eye," as they get older. 

No, I think it may be more widespread than it seems. Benjamin Creme is another example. It's just the society, school, parents, and so on, that decides for children what is real and unreal, possible and impossible, sane and insane. It's still the old cartesian, mechanistic notion of the universe and nature. Which is pretty outdated by now. We have proven quantum entanglement, we know of dark matter, we have string theory, relativity theory and chaos theory. It's time to start thinking differently.

Even the string theory itself predicts worlds not so unlike our own, possibly teeming with life. The scientists fantasize of contacting these worlds through multi-dimensional natural force, the gravity. But I seem to be the only person thinking, that if these dimensions always existed alongside our own, then there very probably already is some interaction. And what else might that interaction produce, than legends of spirits and supernatural worlds, that appear in every society in the world. And those too young, intoxicated, insane or englightened are on the fringe of society, having the least conditioned perception and therefore the greatest interaction with the extra-dimensional phenomena.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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Young children believe as

Most young children believe as their parents do, so it is reasonable to call them by the faith of their parents until and unless you know that they reject it. Refusing to call them by what they probably believe seems like a Dawkinsian rhetorical ploy.

Children of religious parents frequently receive religious personal experiences that justify their faith as fully as that of many adults. In rejecting those experiences as not "informed," I think this post displays an unjustifiable bias in favor of empiricism over other forms of knowledge that, as a reasonable person will admit, you have no way of invalidating.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Most young children believe as their parents do, so it is reasonable to call them by the faith of their parents until and unless you know that they reject it. Refusing to call them by what they probably believe seems like a Dawkinsian rhetorical ploy.

Children of religious parents frequently receive religious personal experiences that justify their faith as fully as that of many adults. In rejecting those experiences as not "informed," I think this post displays an unjustifiable bias in favor of empiricism over other forms of knowledge that, as a reasonable person will admit, you have no way of invalidating.

I wouldn't be surprised if children had experiences similar to those that adult believers feel support and justify their beliefs, whether their parents are religious or not.

This is a separate issue as to whether such experiences actually impart anything justified labelling as 'knowledge', other than knowledge of what it feels like to have such experiences.

It is a massively unjustified assumption that such experiences actually impart any actual knowledge about reality beyond the internal world of the imagination, unless they can be backed up by empirical data.

It is simply not possible to verify in any degree by purely intuitive, non-empirical reasoning that any particular internal experience is anything more than a random thought or idea, a speculation, a fragment of a dream, even if somehow it did happen to correspond to something that actually did exist.

The only pretty certain existential knowledge we can conclude from thought alone is the basic 'cogito ergo sum'.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Presuppositionalist wrote:as

Presuppositionalist wrote:
as a reasonable person will admit

 

Actually, I believe reason contradicts spiritual and mystical methods of obtaining truth.


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
as a reasonable person will admit

 

Actually, I believe reason contradicts spiritual and mystical methods of obtaining truth.

Yep - it is quite unreasonable and illogical to demand that unless something can be invalidated it should be accepted. 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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What is the implication of this statement?

StDissonance wrote:

It is a "fact" that certain groups of people with health disorders are a strain on society that can be remedied by design and removal.  Thankfully, there are those of us that will not accept those "facts" and prevent those actions of "utility."  

 

It seems to me you are suggesting that rational thinking, that those who respect utility, are by default, devoid of social morality, of feelings like love, duty and the willingness to sacrifice and serve others. Would I be right in this interpretation or am I missing something?

Who are "there are those of us", StDis?

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Most young children believe as their parents do, so it is reasonable to call them by the faith of their parents until and unless you know that they reject it. Refusing to call them by what they probably believe seems like a Dawkinsian rhetorical ploy.

Children of religious parents frequently receive religious personal experiences that justify their faith as fully as that of many adults. In rejecting those experiences as not "informed," I think this post displays an unjustifiable bias in favor of empiricism over other forms of knowledge that, as a reasonable person will admit, you have no way of invalidating.

I wouldn't be surprised if children had experiences similar to those that adult believers feel support and justify their beliefs, whether their parents are religious or not.

This is a separate issue as to whether such experiences actually impart anything justified labelling as 'knowledge', other than knowledge of what it feels like to have such experiences.

It is a massively unjustified assumption that such experiences actually impart any actual knowledge about reality beyond the internal world of the imagination, unless they can be backed up by empirical data.

It is simply not possible to verify in any degree by purely intuitive, non-empirical reasoning that any particular internal experience is anything more than a random thought or idea, a speculation, a fragment of a dream, even if somehow it did happen to correspond to something that actually did exist.

The only pretty certain existential knowledge we can conclude from thought alone is the basic 'cogito ergo sum'.

But we have to sense whether the axioms of each new realm of reasoning are self evident. The axioms of logic and causal reasoning, and even our basic trust in the senses, are based on our feeling that we should not deny them. Reason takes its orders, at the most fundamental level, from an emotion. You can't define knowledge as the empirically verifiable without consigning much that is clearly knowledge to the category of opinion. You may not have had a religious experience, but you can't say that a religious experience does not have the property of self evidence just because you haven't had one.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
as a reasonable person will admit

Actually, I believe reason contradicts spiritual and mystical methods of obtaining truth.

Your belief is noted.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
as a reasonable person will admit

 

Actually, I believe reason contradicts spiritual and mystical methods of obtaining truth.

Yep - it is quite unreasonable and illogical to demand that unless something can be invalidated it should be accepted. 

How about this: You have to be able to show that something is invalid, before you say that it's invalid. Would you consider that proposition logical, reasonable, etc.?

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Your belief is noted.

 

And widely accepted in philosophy.  Mysticism and spiritualism are methods of obtaining truth directly through experience, bypassing both reason and empiricism.  Consequently, they are unreasonable methods of obtaining truth.


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Your belief is noted.

 

And widely accepted in philosophy.  Mysticism and spiritualism are methods of obtaining truth directly through experience, bypassing both reason and empiricism.  Consequently, they are unreasonable methods of obtaining truth.

Logic, causal reasoning, and our trust in sensory data seem to be grounded in a subjective sense of self evidence; your definition of a reasonable method of obtaining truth would seem to rule this out, leaving us without logic et al.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Logic, causal reasoning, and our trust in sensory data seem to be grounded in a subjective sense of self evidence; your definition of a reasonable method of obtaining truth would seem to rule this out, leaving us without logic et al.

 

A 'reasonable method' is a method based on reason.  Mysiticism and spiritualism are not based on reason.  Therefore, they aren't reasonable methods.  That was the only point I sought to make.

 


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A minor correction to make

Religion is not identical to theism.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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presup wrote:and even our

presup wrote:
and even our basic trust in the senses, are based on our feeling that we should not deny them

 

I would argue that the trust is based on a whole lot more than a feeling that we shouldn't deny them.  Pragmatism plays a big role in determining the ability to trust our senses, as does the scientific method in regards to separate people reaching similar conclusions.  The development of instruments, which are necessarily natural, further help us determine which sensory data to trust.  Mysticism and spiritualism are undetectable by any other method whatsoever, and can allow ANYTHING to be knowledge.  They don't even need to be subject to logic.


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Luminon wrote:OK, what would

Luminon wrote:
OK, what would the reasoning be like? In that case I'd go along the lines of, well, not scaring other people that can't see the unicorns, it's better to not talk about invisible unicorns to people who would not understand. But it's good to make observations that could eventually lead to explanation, and to make sure that this will not lead to problems in real life. You see, I'd prefer most reserved approach for young children in such a case.

Meh, maybe I'll just wait for my kid to grow out of it. I'll tell my kid my opinion if I'm asked, and that'll be it. 

Luminon wrote:
Well, to be precise, I don't get the point. Take my example, there was and is this supernatural occurence around me, and I always knew what is the difference between imagination and reality. The reality is something that exists regardless of your effort, but imagination requires participation on your side. Reality, no matter how supernatural, doesn't start with you, it's an independent phenomenon. I had read these stories about kids telling lies, making things up, or fantasizing, but I've never seen it in practice.

Right. Well, now that I think about it, I've never seen it in practice either. Kids imagine all this stuff, but they rarely actually believe it by themselves. They usually believe it when it's told or confirmed by their parents, like on Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, etc. 

Luminon wrote:
Observation is an observation. If an observation is made, then it's not bullshit, it just is. You cannot argue that the observation is not made, that would only undermine the child's confidence in you.

There was definitely an observation, but I question whether the observation was really a "spirit," etc. 

I haven't figured most of this out yet. I am planning on having children; maybe I'll figure it out then... 

Luminon wrote:
Children cease to believe in Santa Klaus and tooth fairy because of a lack of observation and have better explanation. (parents did it) But contrarily, these invisible friends or whatever usually cease through pressure of authority, and nobody is concerned if they're real or not. I'm seriously concerned, because esoteric writings say that occurence of less or more clairvoyant children in population will gradually increase in this and next centuries, which will eventually broaden our notion of reality. But in the beginning it may mean many distressed conservative families.

Heh, if I have clairvoyant children, I promise you that I will consider their talents with an open mind.

Luminon wrote:
I don't think this fits. Fundamentalists are believers with no evidence, that reassure themselves through emotions and extremism. Esotericists get their evidence through occult activities.

Well, they also often claim to have personal experiences that confirm their beliefs, such as hearing God's voice, feeling the presence of the Holy Ghost, etc. 

Luminon wrote:
Even the string theory itself predicts worlds not so unlike our own, possibly teeming with life. The scientists fantasize of contacting these worlds through multi-dimensional natural force, the gravity. But I seem to be the only person thinking, that if these dimensions always existed alongside our own, then there very probably already is some interaction. And what else might that interaction produce, than legends of spirits and supernatural worlds, that appear in every society in the world. And those too young, intoxicated, insane or englightened are on the fringe of society, having the least conditioned perception and therefore the greatest interaction with the extra-dimensional phenomena.

Hmm, what you say makes some sense. But, I'm a skeptic, man. I need evidence.

Your esoteric perception might be overwhelming evidence for you, but I can't hold in much higher regard than anyone else's perception of the unknown.   

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Most young children believe as their parents do, so it is reasonable to call them by the faith of their parents until and unless you know that they reject it. Refusing to call them by what they probably believe seems like a Dawkinsian rhetorical ploy.

It is reasonable to call them whatever they profess to believe. It is not reasonable to label them as practitioners of some religion, just because that's what they're parents believe. It is not reasonable to say they believe something if they have not shown themselves to believe it yet. Fair enough?

Presuppositionalist wrote:
I think this post displays an unjustifiable bias in favor of empiricism over other forms of knowledge that, as a reasonable person will admit, you have no way of invalidating.

The burden of proof is on the claimant to validate their 'form of knowledge.' Empiricism has been validated. Methods such as 'spiritism' or 'mysticism' have not been validated.  

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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I can't believe Presup would describe

 

a resistance to branding a child with their parents' religion a 'Dawkinsian rhetorical ploy'. A rhetorical ploy. Apparently Presup has no memory of his childhood and/or he grew up without independent thought or questions of his own. And apparently nothing Dawkins has ever suggested existed until he said it.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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*presses his fingers against

*presses his fingers against temples in a hokey manner*

I sense this thread reaching 100 posts.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

 

How about this: You have to be able to show that something is invalid, before you say that it's invalid. Would you consider that proposition logical, reasonable, etc.?

If you can show that it really is "something" in the first place.

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Most young children believe as their parents do, so it is reasonable to call them by the faith of their parents until and unless you know that they reject it. Refusing to call them by what they probably believe seems like a Dawkinsian rhetorical ploy.

It is reasonable to call them whatever they profess to believe. It is not reasonable to label them as practitioners of some religion, just because that's what they're parents believe. It is not reasonable to say they believe something if they have not shown themselves to believe it yet. Fair enough?

Uh, no. I don't see anything here that addresses my argument. Most young children believe as their parents do. If all we know about little Johnny is that his parents are Christian, it's reasonable to assume that he is a Christian. If we know that he is something else, then obviously we're not going to keep calling him Christian in that case.

Quote:
Presuppositionalist wrote:
I think this post displays an unjustifiable bias in favor of empiricism over other forms of knowledge that, as a reasonable person will admit, you have no way of invalidating.

The burden of proof is on the claimant to validate their 'form of knowledge.' Empiricism has been validated. Methods such as 'spiritism' or 'mysticism' have not been validated.  

But the only non-question-begging way to validate empiricism - and logic, and causal reasoning - is by means of your and my subjectivity. Validation is, or at least can be, subjective. Mysticism has not been validated, for you, but for all you know it has been validated, for me. So you can't say it's invalid for everybody.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Atheistextremist wrote:a

Atheistextremist wrote:
a resistance to branding a child with their parents' religion a 'Dawkinsian rhetorical ploy'. A rhetorical ploy. Apparently Presup has no memory of his childhood and/or he grew up without independent thought or questions of his own. And apparently nothing Dawkins has ever suggested existed until he said it.

Okay, children have independent thought. Their independent thoughts are highly vulnerable to suggestion.  Children uncritically accept all sorts of stuff that they don't find out is wrong until later, because they just don't have the critical thinking skills - and if you have such a good memory, I'm sure you remember plenty of stuff like that too. They believe in the Easter Bunny, and Santa. The most skeptical child is afraid of the monster under the bed. And those are just the ideas we give them in a tone of fun! If they believe in those things, it is reasonable to expect them to believe things that are taught to them seriously. Religion is taught seriously; the parents will present it as the truth, even if they aren't particularly devout. The child will be punished for sinning against God by many religious parents, and he will probably hear simple arguments for the existence of God at home or in school. I have never seen a small child that did not accept the religion of his parents, and these explanations account for that fact pretty convincingly.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
as a reasonable person will admit

Actually, I believe reason contradicts spiritual and mystical methods of obtaining truth.

Yep - it is quite unreasonable and illogical to demand that unless something can be invalidated it should be accepted. 

How about this: You have to be able to show that something is invalid, before you say that it's invalid. Would you consider that proposition logical, reasonable, etc.?

A valid argument, in the strictly logical sense, does not prove something is the case, it merely proves that the conclusion is consistent with the starting propositions. At best, in the case of God, a valid logical argument could show that his existence is possible. Further, in the context of current understanding of the Universe and its history, of life on Earth, and the workings of the human mind, the God hypothesis raises many issues, and resolves nothing in any ultimate sense, and does have problematic logic issues.

Not being able to show that arguments for God are invalid does not automatically make them valid, especially when the propositions involve terms which raise issues for the application of logic, such as all the 'omni' aspects, and references the the supernatural, and things like being 'outside time and space'. Unless all those 'definitions' and proposed attributes can be established with certainty as coherent 'atomic' propositions (see Wittgenstein) themselves, then even if used in a formally valid argument, the conclusions of he argument cannot be taken as valid or established.

So an absence of evidence is quite sufficient for not accepting the existence of God in a perfectly logical and rational sense. Proof of non-existence is not required - ref Russell's celestial teapot.

It is perfectly rational and reasonable, and indeed necessary, that we base our working assumptions on probabilities, likelihoods, otherwise we could not go about our life, since there is little that can actually be established about reality with 100% certainty.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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I s'pose I might have agreed with

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:
a resistance to branding a child with their parents' religion a 'Dawkinsian rhetorical ploy'. A rhetorical ploy. Apparently Presup has no memory of his childhood and/or he grew up without independent thought or questions of his own. And apparently nothing Dawkins has ever suggested existed until he said it.

Okay, children have independent thought. Their independent thoughts are highly vulnerable to suggestion.  Children uncritically accept all sorts of stuff that they don't find out is wrong until later, because they just don't have the critical thinking skills - and if you have such a good memory, I'm sure you remember plenty of stuff like that too. They believe in the Easter Bunny, and Santa. The most skeptical child is afraid of the monster under the bed. And those are just the ideas we give them in a tone of fun! If they believe in those things, it is reasonable to expect them to believe things that are taught to them seriously. Religion is taught seriously; the parents will present it as the truth, even if they aren't particularly devout. The child will be punished for sinning against God by many religious parents, and he will probably hear simple arguments for the existence of God at home or in school. I have never seen a small child that did not accept the religion of his parents, and these explanations account for that fact pretty convincingly.

 

my parents given I had no idea what they were actually talking about but I was aware pretty early of god and the teachings surrounding him - I suppose at 6 or 7? My feelings about god where based on fear, not love, so I was certainly afraid of the monster under the bed. You'd have to agree with me that no quality argument about anything needs to be presented to children along with a threat of eternal torment. That's a fallacy from force, isn't it? I guess that's what the original thread was all about and it's also why I maintain fundamentalist religious instruction is child abuse. It's not about teaching truth, it's about perpetuating a threat. Why? Is it because all humans actually are evil and deserve to die screamingly and eternally, as I was taught from the age of 6 or 7? Or is that just a vast adhom? A form of mental abuse? If you believe that hell stuff is true, Presup, why do you believe it? Did you discover actual proof of hell, or was it drummed into you through abusive teachings?

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Uh, no. I don't see anything here that addresses my argument. Most young children believe as their parents do. If all we know about little Johnny is that his parents are Christian, it's reasonable to assume that he is a Christian. If we know that he is something else, then obviously we're not going to keep calling him Christian in that case.

Oh, so you're just saying it's practical to assume that the child is Christian because kids with Christian parents are usually Christians. Okay, in that case, I agree. 

Presuppositionalist wrote:
But the only non-question-begging way to validate empiricism - and logic, and causal reasoning - is by means of your and my subjectivity. Validation is, or at least can be, subjective.

I'm not sure what you mean. Empiricism is validated by the fact that it works; it reaches conclusions that are useful and conform to reality. That, by itself, is not subjective. 

Presupoositionalist wrote:
Mysticism has not been validated, for you, but for all you know it has been validated, for me. So you can't say it's invalid for everybody.

Mysticism is either a reliable system for gaining knowledge or it's not. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work for anybody. People that think it's "valid for them" would simply be wrong.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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'Empiricism' can be

'Empiricism' can be justified to anybody, since it makes explicit reference to external reality, which everyone has access to. The information conveyed by our senses is certainly not perfect, but has a very high degree of correlation across all reasonably whole and healthy individuals. They can also be compared with other methods of gaining information about the perceived phenomena, through instrumentation, which can convey data about the things we see, hear or feel to us via different sensations than our direct experience. When we seem to perceive a solid object of a certain weight, shape and color, all of those things can be physically measured, and so support the assumption that our senses are indeed perceiving something that exists, in whatever makes up 'external reality', with useful accuracy.

Whereas 'spiritual' or other experiences, not being anchored in physical reality even indirectly, have nothing to back them up except whatever aspects of them are common to other individuals. Unless such correspondences can be shown to be not explainable by factors like shared exchange of ideas, common source material both people have read or heard of, common tendencies of our brains to have certain sorts of ideas, or whatever, there is no way to 'validate' them as sources of knowledge. So they are intrinsically less justifiable as conveying knowledge about some kind of reality outside the mind and imagination of the individual than what is experienced though the senses, even though those senses are less than perfect.

For example, if two or more individuals independently have very similar experiences which contain very specific details in common, which are original and maybe unusual, and do not correspond in any way to their shared physical environment or past experiences or areas of study, then there is something for a James Randi or other informed investigator of the paranormal to investigate.

Simply showing that two sources of 'knowledge' are both limited in some way does not make them equally flawed, you need a somewhat less superficial analysis.

There are things that can affect our perceptions and thoughts that don't come through our senses, such as strong fluctuating magnetic or electrical fields, or substances getting into brains and other parts of our nervous system, but there is far less correspondence between the content of such induced experiences, the thoughts and feelings, and the actual nature and source of the cause of the experience, than there is with information coming through normal sensory data, since the senses have evolved to convey useful information about our physical environment.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Presuppositionalist
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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:
Presuppositionalist wrote:
But the only non-question-begging way to validate empiricism - and logic, and causal reasoning - is by means of your and my subjectivity. Validation is, or at least can be, subjective.

I'm not sure what you mean. Empiricism is validated by the fact that it works; it reaches conclusions that are useful and conform to reality. That, by itself, is not subjective.

Presupoositionalist wrote:
Mysticism has not been validated, for you, but for all you know it has been validated, for me. So you can't say it's invalid for everybody.

Mysticism is either a reliable system for gaining knowledge or it's not. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work for anybody. People that think it's "valid for them" would simply be wrong.

Let's take empiricism to include the proposition that our senses work pretty well. That proposition is validated by our subjective sense that it is valid, since you can't validate the senses by means of the senses (nor can you validate logic or causal reasoning in that fashion). Now, it is reasonable to believe that empiricism works only if the proposition that our senses work pretty well is valid; which means that your basis for accepting empiricism is based, ultimately, on this subjective validation. But if validation is subjective, then you can't prove that religious experience is invalid for me, only that it's invalid for you.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

butterbattle wrote:
Presuppositionalist wrote:
But the only non-question-begging way to validate empiricism - and logic, and causal reasoning - is by means of your and my subjectivity. Validation is, or at least can be, subjective.

I'm not sure what you mean. Empiricism is validated by the fact that it works; it reaches conclusions that are useful and conform to reality. That, by itself, is not subjective.

Presupoositionalist wrote:
Mysticism has not been validated, for you, but for all you know it has been validated, for me. So you can't say it's invalid for everybody.

Mysticism is either a reliable system for gaining knowledge or it's not. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work for anybody. People that think it's "valid for them" would simply be wrong.

Let's take empiricism to include the proposition that our senses work pretty well. That proposition is validated by our subjective sense that it is valid, since you can't validate the senses by means of the senses (nor can you validate logic or causal reasoning in that fashion). Now, it is true that empiricism works only if the proposition that our senses work pretty well is valid; which means that your basis for accepting empiricism is based, ultimately, on this subjective validation. But if validation is subjective, then you can't prove that religious experience is invalid for me, only that it's invalid for you.

As I described above, 'validation' of our sensory experience is not limited to the purely subjective. If you can gain, with the help of physical instrumentation, information about the 'sensed' reality via a separate path, you can gain very strong validation.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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'Causal reasoning' can also

'Causal reasoning' can also be validated, in the same way as a more specific form of such reasoning, namely scientific hypotheses, by repeatedly comparing what such reasoning predicts should exist or occur, given certain other data, with what we subsequently observe.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote: Whereas

BobSpence1 wrote:

Whereas 'spiritual' or other experiences, not being anchored in physical reality even indirectly, have nothing to back them up except whatever aspects of them are common to other individuals. Unless such correspondences can be shown to be not explainable by factors like shared exchange of ideas, common source material both people have read or heard of, common tendencies of our brains to have certain sorts of ideas, or whatever, there is no way to 'validate' them as sources of knowledge. So they are intrinsically less justifiable as conveying knowledge about some kind of reality outside the mind and imagination of the individual than what is experienced though the senses, even though those senses are less than perfect.

Faulty premise: almost all "spiritual" experiences are derived from 'sense data' on, at least, a partial basis.

Ex gratia: the Native American vision quest


It would seem to me that most "spiritual experiences" are a means of explaining physical reality -particularly causality- to minds that have no other means of understanding their surroundings or the otherwise natural phenomena in their world.

example: sun crosses the sky daily - Ra is sailing in his solar barge (Bronze Age Egyptian Pantheon.) Family lineage has a generations-long streak of misfortune; they are "Cursed" by some mystic entity of sorts.

 

  (there's a shit load of other examples but that's the only one I can find/think of atm)

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:BobSpence1

Kapkao wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Whereas 'spiritual' or other experiences, not being anchored in physical reality even indirectly, have nothing to back them up except whatever aspects of them are common to other individuals. Unless such correspondences can be shown to be not explainable by factors like shared exchange of ideas, common source material both people have read or heard of, common tendencies of our brains to have certain sorts of ideas, or whatever, there is no way to 'validate' them as sources of knowledge. So they are intrinsically less justifiable as conveying knowledge about some kind of reality outside the mind and imagination of the individual than what is experienced though the senses, even though those senses are less than perfect.

Faulty premise: almost all "spiritual" experiences are derived from 'sense data' on, at least, a partial basis.

Ex gratia: the Native American vision quest


It would seem to me that most "spiritual experiences" are a means of explaining physical reality -particularly causality- to minds that have no other means of understanding their surroundings or the otherwise natural phenomena in their world.

example: sun crosses the sky daily - Ra is sailing in his solar barge (Bronze Age Egyptian Pantheon.) Family lineage has a generations-long streak of misfortune; they are "Cursed" by some mystic entity of sorts.

 

  (there's a shit load of other examples but that's the only one I can find/think of atm)

Actually, I am not saying that many, if not all, 'spiritual' experiences are not inspired by, or derived from, actual 'real world' happenings.

I concede I perhaps should have been more careful in my phrasing. Those aspects of a spiritual experience that are not supported by empirical evidence in physical reality, such as the idea of an actual supernatural entity actually responsible for the physical events which inspired the spiritual 'insight', are the problem.

The link from the physical observation - the sun going across the sky - to the idea of a God driving a chariot or a barge or whatever across the sky is natural. It is the idea that such visions are 'validated' by this link that I object to. It actually reflects a basic fallacy in reasoning that even the famous Greek philosophers tended to fall for: that coming up with an idea that seems to intuitively fit with the observation is all that is necessary to provide an 'explanation'.

It took quite a while to get the idea that without the next step, that of rigorously testing a proposed 'explanation' against reality, ie the scientific method, it is just speculation, a guess. Many people still don't get that.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Kapkao wrote:*presses his

Kapkao wrote:

*presses his fingers against temples in a hokey manner*

I sense this thread reaching 100 posts.

What a bless this is, in the heat of summer slack season, or as we say, cucumber season. It's not only the oppressed atheists who need this.

 

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
as a reasonable person will admit

Actually, I believe reason contradicts spiritual and mystical methods of obtaining truth.

You're right, mysticism is not much about understanding an information. But there is esoteric theory and occult practice, which is the other side of mysticism, it's intellectual, logical teaching, with it's own basic axioms and technical terms. In esoteric books, laws and structure of universe, life, nature, energies and forces are meticulously described into great detail, as much as you can do without mathemathics and keep it useful for the student. It's a good framework and inspiration for scientists trying to design a new theory, it touches almost all subjects of natural sciences and philosophies. It also by the way tries to describe string theory, much before it was invented. But studying it is like studying any other science, it takes years of effort worthy of a university.


There is one fascinating thing about mysticism. Religions are all different. But their own mystical precedessors and offshoots are all about the same thing. They may vary superficially, but they're all about the same subject. They're about the one mystical, contemplative path to divinity of consciousness. Occultism is another path to divinity, one of many, but it's a path of knowledge and activity, for those that have brain and are not afraid to use it. For an occultist the mysticism is one of steps on his path, which is intellectually understood through esoteric theory. Mysticism deliberately oversteps intellect, to get from emotional aspiration and love directly to divine consciousness. Esotericism documents that process for students, but prefers the intellectual way, by it's textbookish nature.

For example, zen koans have no sense, but they have a purpose. Their lack of sense is meant to tangle the critical, ever-babbling mind into loop, short-circuit it, and allow the person to meditate. It's a crutch for those who REALLY can't calm down to meditate.
 

butterbattle wrote:
all before that
All right, well then.

butterbattle wrote:

Luminon wrote:
I don't think this fits. Fundamentalists are believers with no evidence, that reassure themselves through emotions and extremism. Esotericists get their evidence through occult activities.

Well, they also often claim to have personal experiences that confirm their beliefs, such as hearing God's voice, feeling the presence of the Holy Ghost, etc.

Yeah, they have personal experiences if they do their ritual stuff. But the point is, they don't really know what they do. They use very primitive, distorted quasi-theology and when they feel something, they call it Holy Spirit or God's voice, or speaking in tongues. They don't seem to realize, that this doesn't convey any useful information or progress to them. Useful information would be unscriptural and progress would be heretical. All that they get is feeling.


butterbattle wrote:
Hmm, what you say makes some sense. But, I'm a skeptic, man. I need evidence.

Your esoteric perception might be overwhelming evidence for you, but I can't hold in much higher regard than anyone else's perception of the unknown.

What kind of evidence do you expect? My evidence is seeing it in practice, and seeing it to fit the theory I have.



Those who can't investigate the paranormal by themselves, rely on judgement of scientists. While real scientists work, local academic authorities do nothing but spew their bullshit and infiltrate government and national media councils. They're old people who grew up, studied and worked under the demands of Soviet Union (and nazis). Their thinking is totalitarian, because Soviets wanted obedience to ideology and good cadre origin, not scientific innovation or truth. During communism the way to any office or higher education led through a climb into Stalin's ass.
These old communists have to die out. Although they hide under international skeptics' movement, their arguments are nothing short of the worst creationists. Their arrogance, stupidity and lies were repeatedly proven, but they don't care, nobody else has access to national media to respond them properly. You see, this is why there is such a thing as local underground culture. I don't say we're right about everything, but this diffcult situation prevents us from getting a professional attention. (these "scientists" stopped doing any field work decades ago, they just hung out in popular science programs) In this diffcult situation we can do nothing else than just work with people and help them, as Answers in Gene( Simmons) has currently in his signature.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.