The Problem with Cherry Picking

albedo_00
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The Problem with Cherry Picking

Many of the theist I've know (mostly catholic/christian) often cherry pick their particular set of beliefs from their main dogma of denomination. The approach taken towards " their religion", as most of them put it, is that of a personal philosophy, based in and/or derived from the larger set of beliefs of the nominal religion. This (they continue) is often more productive and "morally good" than blindly taking all of the dogma as a whole, embracing both the good and the bad, the applicable and the ancient rules now useless and often unhumane by modern standarts, as equally comendable.

The problem with this, as it should be obvious, is the cherry picking itself. It is much like an abused wife that treasures the good moments she had with her husband, but forgets from where (and from whom) did all her cuts and bruises came from. The problem with cherry picking is the willing misrepresentation of a belief/person/etc. as something it is not, or at the very least, is not in it's entirety. And it is a misrepresentation because the pickers I have meet, both personally and on the net, almost never recognise to be pickers, but rather represent themselves as members of their nominal dogma, i.e. as catholics/christians, disregarding of course the obvious contradiction of being a christian but not following all the teachings of christianity; a Jewish Knight of Columbus makes just as much sense.

The repercutions of this is seen in this forums day in and day out: theists (for any denomination) that preach on about their holy dogmas being perfect, peaceful, the word of god, holding all the answers, but at the same time ignoring (or not realising) that their particular religion is not perfect, often preaches more violence and submision than peace, is contradictive and filled with the same sins it supossedly tries to prevent/absolve. Most people find peace and comfort in them, granted, but to do so they have to bury their heads in the sand not only from the outside world, but often (as if the latter wasn't enough) from at least half their dogmas as well. An image of Ana Freud's good and bad objects comes into mind, as well as the Defense Mechanisms of Denial and Distortion.

My questions are these: Why can't you at least be honest about your own religion? Yes, the Koran has the Sword Verses, yes the Old Testament has Leviticus, yes in the New Testament Jesus condemns Jews and, pretty much everyone that doesn't accept him, to hell (Matt 7:19; 10:14-15), yes the Book of Mormon is, well, bs, and yes, all these examples are just to name a little few. Why, if you believe in your religion, can't you accept it as a whole?

And if you're a cherry picker, meaning there's some part(s) of your chosen religion you don't agree with and won't accept to believe or practice, why still denominate yourself as Catholic/Xian/Muslim/Mormon/Jewish/etc?

P.S. This is NOT meant to encourage fundamentalism, but rather to point out the compartmentalization that takes place in the act of cherry picking.

Lenore, The Cute Little Dead Girl. Twice as good as Jesus.


Rook_Hawkins
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You should consider checking

You should consider checking out my blog entry on "What is a Gospel?"


albedo_00
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Rook_Hawkins wrote: You

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
You should consider checking out my blog entry on "What is a Gospel?"

I've already had a couple days ago. The ultimate joke about the apologetic's arguments is that, if they're right, christians today are not so much worshiping the word of Jesus in the NT, but rather the word of a bunch of so called eye witnesses whose identity is not made known, whose verity is not questioned, nor their motives to tell their story and their own interpretation of what it is they claimed they saw, and that, judging by the gospels, could not be counted as reliable witnesses in a murder case today even if the killer bite them on their asses.

But the point is noted, cherry picking, both when you're believing and when you're "proving" your belief is right, is not about consistency of the whole or taking everything into account, but rather to "maintain your Gestalt", even to the detriment of everything that doesn't fit into it.

Lenore, The Cute Little Dead Girl. Twice as good as Jesus.


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You may also enjoy this

You may also enjoy this read:

The Bible: Literal, Metaphorical, Poetic 

I can't help but agree that on a weird level I have more respect for a fundamentalist / literalist since at least they are truly committing themselves to the belief rather than just refusing to acknolwedge that their belief does not weigh in on their actual views to nearly the level that they think it does. 


RhadTheGizmo
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Sighh... Quote: The problem

Sighh...

Quote:
The problem with this, as it should be obvious, is the cherry picking itself.

No! the problem is that those kids score a basket by playing offsides.  That's the problem..

Quote:
It is much like an abused wife that treasures the good moments she had with her husband, but forgets from where (and from whom) did all her cuts and bruises came from. The problem with cherry picking is the willing misrepresentation of a belief/person/etc.

The problem I find in this argument is that the person that argues christians who "cherry pick" make no distinction between the one that (1) refuses to acknowledge verses that seem to undercut his/her position, (2) those who acknowledge the verses but attempt to interpret or assume to be the case there there is some underlying principle that explains the conduct to a degree more than what it seems, (3) those who believe the bible was written by man, thereby imperfect, and can therefore except the premise that some verses are incorrect and some are not.

Quote:
i.e. as catholics/christians, disregarding of course the obvious contradiction of being a christian but not following all the teachings of christianity;

Very few christian denominations that I know of say "you must accept all our teachings or you are not a member of my denomination."  True, there are some, certain, fundamental teachings to each denomination, care to guess what they are for catholics? baptist? sdas? mormons? harvest christian? methodists? quakers? mennonites?

Quote:
The repercutions of this is seen in this forums day in and day out: theists (for any denomination) that preach on about their holy dogmas being perfect, peaceful, the word of god, holding all the answers, but at the same time ignoring (or not realising) that their particular religion is not perfect, often preaches more violence and submision than peace, is contradictive and filled with the same sins it supossedly tries to prevent/absolve.

No church is perfect, IMO.  Anyone that claims to be is one I would immediately presume to be untrustworthy, IMO.  

That being said.. I'm sure some church fit your description.

Quote:
Most people find peace and comfort in them, granted, but to do so they have to bury their heads in the sand not only from the outside world, but often (as if the latter wasn't enough) from at least half their dogmas as well.

"At least half their dogmas"? Really? Not 75% or 80%?

Quote:
Yes, the Koran has the Sword Verses, yes the Old Testament has Leviticus, yes in the New Testament Jesus condemns Jews and, pretty much everyone that doesn't accept him, to hell (Matt 7:19; 10:14-15), yes the Book of Mormon is, well, bs, and yes, all these examples are just to name a little few.

Prime example of what I mentioned earlier.

(1) Someone doesn't address these verses at all.
(2) Someone interprets them to mean, "accept those words that are central to salvation" not necessarily "accept Jesus as X."
(3) Either 1, 2, or some third--because the bible is imperfect.

Aside from the first, I wouldn't consider the other two "cherry picking."

Quote:
Why, if you believe in your religion, can't you accept it as a whole?

Most religions, as has been shown throughout history, are somewhat open to change.  If everyone followed your premise then the end result would either be (1) no religion would ever change or (2) religions would change but have an implied doctrine that all other doctrines are opened to change.

The first I would not see as preferable.. the second, yes, but then would sort of defeat the argument of this thread.  If there is an "implied doctrine" that all other doctrines are opened to change, exactly how is one "cherry picking" when he/she believes that one doctrine is imperfect and thereby acts in accordance with that belief that it should be discarded or adjusted?

Quote:
And if you're a cherry picker, meaning there's some part(s) of your chosen religion you don't agree with and won't accept to believe or practice, why still denominate yourself as Catholic/Xian/Muslim/Mormon/Jewish/etc?

Because either (1) the denomination allows for this discretion in certain beliefs, (2) the denomination is open to change and thereby I can change it more from then inside then the outside, (3) some third point.

The "take all" or "give all" approach doesn't seem, to me, to be necessary at all.. for anything other than "practicality."

What it would lead to would be an infinite amount of "denomination," each numbered between 1-3, by which each person is "completely in agreement" with regard to doctrine and belief.

Sure its "practical" because then people know what you mean when you say "I'm south-east-side-lower-los-angeles-sda-corner-of-broad-st-number-431"--then again, you could just have a religion that allows for a certain amount of difference within its congregation.

I would venture to say that it would be more useful for atheist to understand that "mormon," "baptist," "catholic," carry with them only certain fundamental beliefs.. the remainder of which is open to discussion, difference of opinions, and change.

This is with regards to the bible as well as to certain "doctrines" within the religion itself.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: The

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

The problem I find in this argument is that the person that argues christians who "cherry pick" make no distinction between the one that (1) refuses to acknowledge verses that seem to undercut his/her position, (2) those who acknowledge the verses but attempt to interpret or assume to be the case there there is some underlying principle that explains the conduct to a degree more than what it seems, (3) those who believe the bible was written by man, thereby imperfect, and can therefore except the premise that some verses are incorrect and some are not.

Perhaps I'm not understanding you, but it seems all you've done here is describe three different methods of "cherry picking".  To use the wife-beating example:

1) refuses to acknowledge verses that seem to undercut his/her position...

"But he's my husband..."  (ignoring the obvious)

2) those who acknowledge the verses but attempt to interpret or assume to be the case there there is some underlying principle that explains the conduct to a degree more than what it seems...

"He's just venting and is under a lot of stress..."

3) those who believe the bible was written by man, thereby imperfect, and can therefore except the premise that some verses are incorrect and some are not...

"At least he tries not to break my nose..." 

 

Did I miss something here Rhad?

 

 


RhadTheGizmo
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Not at all--although I

Not at all--although I think you've misrepresented a bit. The thing is, in part, you've just given support to my point..

Except (1) would be more akin to "He doesn't hit me, or, it's never happened before.

(2) Would be correct regarding what I said.

(3) Would not be correct, but this is mainly due to the fact that the wife beating scenario is not analogous to this third position.

In anycase, you've denoted them all as "cherry picking," which, at least as I've come to understand it, doesn't apply to 2 and 3.  "Cherry picking," as the image suggests, means "taking some and leaving the others."

(2) and (3) are not "taking some and leaving the others."

(2) would be more like.. "I'm taking all of it, but you're wrong! you think they're cherries, when in fact, they're apples."

(3) would be more like.. "I'm taking it all, but that's because  this is a cherry and an apple tree--I only want cherries."

Once agian, I'll state, that atheist, IMO, tend to combine these three modes of thinking into one group called "cherry picking" when, IMO, they are three distinct groups.

"Cherry picking" = a taking of X1 but not X2, even though an accepted premise suggests that X1 = X2, and there is no reason not take X2 but the statement "I don't want to."  This is what, I think, is meant by "cherry picking,"  i.e. I am not going to take that cherry because I don't want to.


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I think we may be talking

I think we may be talking apples vs. oranges here.  Tongue out

I'll chew on your response later when I get home. 


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HCG wrote: 1) refuses to

HCG wrote:

1) refuses to acknowledge verses that seem to undercut his/her position...

"But he's my husband..." (ignoring the obvious)

Rhad wrote:

Except (1) would be more akin to "He doesn't hit me, or, it's never happened before.

True. Bad example on my part.

 

HCG wrote:

2) those who acknowledge the verses but attempt to interpret or assume to be the case there there is some underlying principle that explains the conduct to a degree more than what it seems...

"He's just venting and is under a lot of stress..."

Rhad wrote:

(2) Would be correct regarding what I said.

(2) would be more like.. "I'm taking all of it, but you're wrong! you think they're cherries, when in fact, they're apples."

Here I was attempting to equate the absolute of "wife-beating is bad" with say, "Thou shalt not kill". The cherry-picking occurs because the wife is accepting an excuse for her husband's abuse, i.e. picking the cherry of "it's ok in this instance" vs. the cherry of "wife-beating is bad". This is analgolous to the biblical absolute cherry of "Thou shalt not kill", and the biblical cherries that say "well, it's ok to kill in this instance".

HCG wrote:

3) those who believe the bible was written by man, thereby imperfect, and can therefore except the premise that some verses are incorrect and some are not...

"At least he tries not to break my nose..."

Rhad wrote:

(3) Would not be correct, but this is mainly due to the fact that the wife beating scenario is not analogous to this third position.

(3) would be more like.. "I'm taking it all, but that's because this is a cherry and an apple tree--I only want cherries."

My example here really fits better under number two, so you are right about my example being wrong. However, I fail to see how your #3 premise is anything but cherry picking.

Anyway, with all that, I stand partially corrected.

 


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: Here I was

Quote:
Here I was attempting to equate the absolute of "wife-beating is bad" with say, "Thou shalt not kill". The cherry-picking occurs because the wife is accepting an excuse for her husband's abuse, i.e. picking the cherry of "it's ok in this instance" vs. the cherry of "wife-beating is bad". This is analgolous to the biblical absolute cherry of "Thou shalt not kill", and the biblical cherries that say "well, it's ok to kill in this instance".

I believe that most scholars would agree that the commandment "thou shalt not kill" is more akin to "thou shalt not murder."  Since murder merely means "unjustified killing"--further exposition tends to define what is unjustified (at least this is my current understanding of what is in the Bible).

So, the reason I made my second statement is that while everyone might assume that "wife beating" is always bad because they might define it as "unjustified beating of a wife."  Yet, surely, I don't think, people would find a problem with a husband, half the size of his wife, "beating" her to keep her from killing her children.

In this extreme circumstance we would say, "there is some underlying value which trumps the right of the wife to be free from battery."  A "legal excuse" if you will..

So, what I meant by "they're not cherries.. they're apples," was to imply that some do not consider "all killing bad" although the majority of the time it may will be.  At some point, it may be justified.  The premise, therefore, is, that when looking at instances in the bible consider all acts of killing as either "right" or "wrong."  If "wrong," then consider why it was wrong.  If "right," consider why it was "right."

So.. instead of the wife saying "He's just venting and is under a lot of stress.." maybe a better example of this position would be "Yes, but I was about to stomp on my kid."

Quote:
My example here really fits better under number two, so you are right about my example being wrong. However, I fail to see how your #3 premise is anything but cherry picking.

Anyway, with all that, I stand partially corrected.

The reason, IMO, I wouldn't consider this cherry picking is that it doesn't presume the premise that the original thread presumed--mainly, that "the bible in its entirety is truth and must be accepted as, and only, whole."  If one accepts this premise, then it would be cherry picking to take some verses and ignore the others because X1 = X2.  

However, some christians don't accept this premise, therefore, I would contend, they are not cherry picking.  They have some "internal moral compass" that they follow to decide what is worth taking from the Bible and what is not based upon their presumption that their "internal moral compass" is right.

Perhaps.. this last one may fall under cherry picking.  I don't have a particularly strong opinion on the subject.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: The

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
The problem I find in this argument is that the person that argues christians who "cherry pick" make no distinction between the one that (1) refuses to acknowledge verses that seem to undercut his/her position, (2) those who acknowledge the verses but attempt to interpret or assume to be the case there there is some underlying principle that explains the conduct to a degree more than what it seems, (3) those who believe the bible was written by man, thereby imperfect, and can therefore except the premise that some verses are incorrect and some are not.

I agree with this. I myself do make the distinction you mention, I call the first cherry picker, the second I call rationaliser (as in the defense mecanism sense of the word), and the third I call something like " the preferable theist", or maybe even "on his/her way to atheism" (I don't know if I misrepresented myself as someone who doesn't make this distinction, and don't think I did but if so, sorry).

the point of this post was more to adress my final questions: why can't [some/many?] theist accept their religion as a whole? and if they cherry pick, why still denominate themself as X?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Very few christian denominations that I know of say "you must accept all our teachings or you are not a member of my denomination." True, there are some, certain, fundamental teachings to each denomination, care to guess what they are for catholics? baptist? sdas? mormons? harvest christian? methodists? quakers? mennonites?

If you can't see the wind, you still know it by the leaves moving. Granted, I also don't know many fundie denominations of christianity, but I also don't know many denominations of theism (including non-christian) that allows debate, i.e. won't permit their dogmas/holy books to be held in question, nor that will honor any true questioning of them, you just have to "take it on faith".

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
No church is perfect, IMO. Anyone that claims to be is one I would immediately presume to be untrustworthy, IMO.

I'll have a drink on that. Cheers mate.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Most religions, as has been shown throughout history, are somewhat open to change. If everyone followed your premise then the end result would either be (1) no religion would ever change or (2) religions would change but have an implied doctrine that all other doctrines are opened to change

But of course it has, otherwise they would have been extinct a long time ago (mmmh, something for ID-freaks to ponder upon) so my point is still there: if you don't take all of the nominal religion (even the forgoten), why then still denominate yourself thus?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
The "take all" or "give all" approach doesn't seem, to me, to be necessary at all.. for anything other than "practicality."

(...)

I would venture to say that it would be more useful for atheist to understand that "mormon," "baptist," "catholic," carry with them only certain fundamental beliefs.. the remainder of which is open to discussion, difference of opinions, and change.

This is with regards to the bible as well as to certain "doctrines" within the religion itself.

Indeed it's practical and, besides that, I see no other use, but rather a lot of abuse, for that particular approach. And the question is not so much if atheist. agnostics or non-members-of-any-such-denomination understand that there is a diversity factor within any such church, but rather if the members themselves understand it. This I say while keeping in mind the many, many "cherry-fundies" so to speak, the myriad of people who behemently believe certain parts of their dogma and hold them as god-writen, while disregarding many other verses or teachings which comes in conflict with their handpicked cherries. You know the kind, the ones who say you can't lay with a man, or the bow down or be blown up kind, or the ones that will not let their sons/daughters to marry any non-chosen, or the don't work in sunday kind, stone revel teenagers and whores, and a BIG etc.

I think we agree on this, religion has some good bits to cherry pick, and if it stayed that way, i.e. when people take it as a philosophy of life, rather than a road map to the afterlife, I wouldn't complain (as much), but when they pick and chose some parts of the nominal dogma which, as we seem to agree, are open to interpretation, and hold them to the status of stone-writen, even if this disregards other teachings of that same dogma, then I have a bone to pick, the bone of "cherry-fundie" hipocresy.

Lenore, The Cute Little Dead Girl. Twice as good as Jesus.


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That's the best darn

That's the best darn response I've ever received. Cheers indeed and also, agreed (mostly).

 As for the "cherry fundies" as you call them.. I will leave them to answer.  Truthly I cannot understand their position and, therefore, can argue it for them or attempt too.


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  I love Cherry picking,

  I love Cherry picking,

and Jesus wrote nothing.

Scientists are cherry pickers.

Ted Nugent was a cherry picker, still is, I will bet ! 

 Wisdom cherry picking anyone .... Smile