A Rational Utopia

wavefreak
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A Rational Utopia

Let's assume for a minute that RRS succeeds in their stated purpose and expunges the world of theism. What would this world be like?  I don't want answers like "it would be great". I'm looking for how it might change  things like politics, law, and social institutions.


American Atheist
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It would be great!  Also,

It would be great!

 Also, the crime rate would decrease and other stuff.

 


Jacob Cordingley
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No fundies coming to

No fundies coming to power

No dogmatic churches

No bombing abortion clinics

No suicide bombers

No subjugation of women

etc

In conclusion:

It would be great.


Strafio
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Morality would

Morality would improve.
There's a lot of problems caused by irrational ideas about morality.
There are two main problems:
a) Superstitious ideas that confuse things. When you ties a person's morality to a superstitious idea or demand that they include superstition based rules with their morality, it makes their morality depedent on this superstition. This has two main bad effects:
1) It makes people accept terrible morals because their superstition demands it.
2) People who reject the superstition might reject morality along with it.

b) Some people with rationally derived morals don't have the confidence to assert them as objective as they don't recognise the rational foundation of their beliefs. They don't think they have the right to challenge bad systems of morality as they believe it is relative so they have no right to criticise bad morality.

Both of these problems will be solved if/when morality is taught as a rational activity.


wavefreak
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American Atheist wrote: It

American Atheist wrote:

It would be great!

 Also, the crime rate would decrease and other stuff.

 

LOL. I suppose I should have expected somebody to say it. 


wavefreak
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Jacob Cordingley wrote: No

Jacob Cordingley wrote:

No fundies coming to power

No dogmatic churches

No bombing abortion clinics

No suicide bombers

No subjugation of women

etc

In conclusion:

It would be great.

 

Sorry. Your post is rejected. It isn't humerous and it doesn't describe a culture or society.


wavefreak
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Strafio wrote: Morality

Strafio wrote:
Morality would improve.
There's a lot of problems caused by irrational ideas about morality.
There are two main problems:
a) Superstitious ideas that confuse things. When you ties a person's morality to a superstitious idea or demand that they include superstition based rules with their morality, it makes their morality depedent on this superstition. This has two main bad effects:
1) It makes people accept terrible morals because their superstition demands it.
2) People who reject the superstition might reject morality along with it.

b) Some people with rationally derived morals don't have the confidence to assert them as objective as they don't recognise the rational foundation of their beliefs. They don't think they have the right to challenge bad systems of morality as they believe it is relative so they have no right to criticise bad morality.

Both of these problems will be solved if/when morality is taught as a rational activity.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this and I am NOT trying to bait people. In all seriousness I'm trying to envision a world without theism. I'm having trouble with it because removing theism doesn't make people rational. Even teaching a rational morality from birth would not address this because people by and large don't seem to care whether or not they bahave rationally. Badly applied religious ideas let to such heinous things as the Crusades. Badly applied "rationalism" would allow similar behavior. People in power tend to do want they can to stay in power. What would prevent them form using psuedo-rationalism to bend the minds of people too lazy to emply the real thing? Yes, I know that psuedo-rationalism is an oxymoron. Strictly speaking you can't be semi-rational. But in practice, people aren't inclined to practice something when it conflicts with their desires. A person in power will practice strict rationalism when it suits them and deliberately craft subtle fallacies when it promotes their agenda.


Strafio
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Fair enough.A world without

Fair enough.
A world without theism would be a world without a major contributor of 'mis-applied' rationality so the world would be one step closer to the benefits described in my last post.
What's more, the work of the RRS wouldn't simply be to erase theism.
It would involve a questioning of the irrational precepts that currently allow theism, and other ideas like it, to thrive. And that would lead to a more rational society in general.


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If theism were expunged: I

If theism were expunged:

I would no longer have to fight fundies who want to legislate their 'morality' to me.

The trees would blossom because of natural processes and not because 'god' willed it.

The grand canyon will have been created by millions on years of erosion and not a global flood.

The sun will now become the center of the solar system and not te earth.

The great apes will then be our ancestors and not a different 'kind'. 

The blastocyst that could yield life saving treatment findings will no longer be considered to have a 'soul'.

We will no longer go to war for 'god'.

We will no longer hate for 'god'.

We will begin to live our lives as they the are the only ones we have and no longer look to the 'next' life.

 

Really..... the list could go on and on. 


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Theism is for the mentally

Theism is for the mentally unstable who would not be able to function in a moral, productive way without the idea that after they die, a great and powerful sky-daddy will take them to a magical place of wonder and happiness. It stems from the fact that people are afraid to die, and don't want to take responsibility for their own actions. If there is a promise of reincarnation, heaven, or afterlife, they are somehow able to go on with their life, because after they die, it will continue.

Guess what? It doesn't. When you die, you brain and heart stop functioning, your body shuts down, and starts to decompose into the elementals that once composed a living organism.

What would the world be like without theism?

First, it would be a living nightmare as irrational fundamentalist theists clinged to their beliefs to such an irrational way that they create terrorist attacks upon the free thinking society. They would continue on in cults, where they would continue to have as many children as possbile to bolster their numbers and continually produced mentally retarded and handicapped offspring as their gene pool diminishes.

What I mean to say is that the transition would be rough, and would be an all out war for a bit.

Afterwards, we would stop wasting money on religion and spend it on scientific advancement, humanitarian efforts, and eviromental preservation. Crime rate would go down after the initial influx of irrational behavior, because atheists can't ask for forgiveness from a supernatural being. They have to answer to themselves, and take responsibility for their own actions.

Society would thrive without irrational thought, the biggest of which is theism.

YOU shut the fuck up! WE'LL save America!


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I think the South Park

I think the South Park episode which dipicted future factions of atheism as divisive makes a good point.

Even if we acceave the end of religion (NOT BY PHYSICAL FORCE), but even if, I think it is important to always remember that humans are still subject to human behaivor, believer or not.

I do think that alot of the worlds problems would be diminished, but certainly the world will still have social and political problems.

If we are to correctly state, "Getting atheists together is like herding cats" then we cant assume that an all atheist planet is nessarly going to come to an altruistic utopia.

Believer or not, utopias are a product of fiction and will never match reality. There are 6 billion people and part of human behaivor is a strive for resources and dominance, no differance than any other species.

So while I think our independance and critical thinking and introspection can improve and reduce the problems of the world, lets not become dogmatic in thinking that utopias can be acceaved. That is what theism sells. That is what Hitler and Stalin sold.

Part of objectivity is the ability to know what is plausable and can be improved vs what we disire ourselves. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Jacob Cordingley
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wavefreak wrote: Jacob

wavefreak wrote:
Jacob Cordingley wrote:

No fundies coming to power

No dogmatic churches

No bombing abortion clinics

No suicide bombers

No subjugation of women

etc

In conclusion:

It would be great.

Sorry. Your post is rejected. It isn't humerous and it doesn't describe a culture or society.

Actually it does and you know it.


wavefreak
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Jacob Cordingley

Jacob Cordingley wrote:
wavefreak wrote:
Jacob Cordingley wrote:

No fundies coming to power

No dogmatic churches

No bombing abortion clinics

No suicide bombers

No subjugation of women

etc

In conclusion:

It would be great.

Sorry. Your post is rejected. It isn't humerous and it doesn't describe a culture or society.

Actually it does and you know it.

 

Actually, this only tells me that you haven't really thought about it and prefer to spew the party line. This is a list of expectations or hoped for consequences. Feels like article of faith to me.

 

Take sucide bombings. This is actually a very good tactic in assymetric warfare. Currently, theistic justifications are a convenient way of convincing vulnerable people to carry out these acts. But it does not follow that in the absence of theism that another justification for suicide bombings won't arise.

You mention subjugation of women.  This is flawed  because subjugation is irrational and eliminating theism does not eliminate irrationality.  What you are saying is that all subjagators of women are theists. This is not even true in the face if it. There are men that subjugate their wives simply because they are ass holes, not because they are theists.

 

Theism does not cause irrationality. It is something that arises from what people are. If you eliminate theism, I would propose that something else equally irrational will rise to take its place. 

 

 


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Strafio wrote: Fair

Strafio wrote:
Fair enough.
A world without theism would be a world without a major contributor of 'mis-applied' rationality so the world would be one step closer to the benefits described in my last post.
What's more, the work of the RRS wouldn't simply be to erase theism.
It would involve a questioning of the irrational precepts that currently allow theism, and other ideas like it, to thrive. And that would lead to a more rational society in general.

 

Thanks for a thoughtful response.

 

What about the "Law of Unintended Consequences". Could there be any downside to a "fully rationalized" culture? I am again not trying to trap anybody here. I have found through experience that if you don't examine the potential negatives of something you haven't fully explored the issues. On first blush, a rational culture sounds like a good thing. But things rarely go as expected. For example, if theism were to be eliminated, would that require "thought police".


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wavefreak wrote: What

wavefreak wrote:

What about the "Law of Unintended Consequences". Could there be any downside to a "fully rationalized" culture? I am again not trying to trap anybody here. I have found through experience that if you don't examine the potential negatives of something you haven't fully explored the issues. On first blush, a rational culture sounds like a good thing. But things rarely go as expected. For example, if theism were to be eliminated, would that require "thought police".

Let's see, wavefreak, that's the second time on short thread that you've included a disclaimer stating that you aren't trying to "bait" or "trap" anybody. I submit that you are a theist trying to do exactly that, and to make a case that a world without religion would be worse than the world is now. Care to come clean? Certainly your unsupported assertion that a rational world would require "thought police" is trying a little too hard to be provocative.

Of course removing religion would not make everyone rational. But one thing it would do is take away the basis for making scientific claims ("the world was created by God&quotEye-wink based on irrational premises. People could go ahead and be as irrational as they want, but they would no longer have any basis to claim that others must participate in their irrationality.  Politics could come back to the position that the only valid basis for making laws which affect everyone is a rational basis, because this is the only foundation which everyone can recognize.

Some specific effects:

- removal of opposition to stem cell research

- removal of opposition to gay marriage (with overal reduction in persecution of gays)

- abandoment of attempts to get creationism taught in classrooms

- cessation of government attempts to channel all social programs through churches

- no more pedophile priests

That's just a start, the list goes on an on. 

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


wavefreak
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Tilberian wrote:wavefreak

Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

What about the "Law of Unintended Consequences". Could there be any downside to a "fully rationalized" culture? I am again not trying to trap anybody here. I have found through experience that if you don't examine the potential negatives of something you haven't fully explored the issues. On first blush, a rational culture sounds like a good thing. But things rarely go as expected. For example, if theism were to be eliminated, would that require "thought police".

Let's see, wavefreak, that's the second time on short thread that you've included a disclaimer stating that you aren't trying to "bait" or "trap" anybody. I submit that you are a theist trying to do exactly that, and to make a case that a world without religion would be worse than the world is now. Care to come clean? Certainly your unsupported assertion that a rational world would require "thought police" is trying a little too hard to be provocative.

 

It was not an assertion so I don't need to support it. It was a question.  If you re-read what I posted, then you will see that my assertion is essentially that there are always un-intended consequences.  I don't see any discourse about what they would be. What is being proposed is a radical, fundamental change in human culture. So I am supposed to abandon theism simply because atheists are certain that the world would be better?  Are you telling me that there is no possibility of negative consequences? As for coming clean, my only motivation is to in some small leave the world a better place than when I entered it. I'm not going to change any minds here. But I can certainly learn more about what those minds think.  

 

Quote:

 Politics could come back to the position that the only valid basis for making laws which affect everyone is a rational basis, because this is the only foundation which everyone can recognize.

 

I would assert that this will never happen. Politics is not about being rational. It is about power, money and control.

Quote:

Some specific effects:

- removal of opposition to stem cell research

- removal of opposition to gay marriage (with overal reduction in persecution of gays)

- abandoment of attempts to get creationism taught in classrooms

- cessation of government attempts to channel all social programs through churches

- no more pedophile priests

 

You are really focused on the present. Roll it forward 100 years. What do you envision? If you insist that there is no possibility of negative consequences without even examining the potential then you are just as delusional as the those that want me to believe the the bible is the undisputed truth.

The comment about pedophile priests is a cheap shot. There would still be pedophiles. And as far as I know, pedophilia is not justified by theism. What experience do you have with pedophiles? I have first hand experience. It wasn't a priest and religion had nothing to do with it. 

Let's be clear.

  1. I am not a fundamentalist.
  2. I do not believe the bible is the unvarnished truth.
  3. I have no problem with the theory of evolution.
  4. I have problems with homosexuality, probably in part because of first hand experience with a pedophile. If it is OK to be gay because "it's the way I was born" then why is pedophilia wrong if that's the "way they are born". I don't want to explore this because I am too emotionally bound to the subject so please don't freak out on me.
  5. I am not convinced that science can solve "what ails humanity". People are often brutish, selfish and will willingly hurt others. They don't need theism for this. And science won't change this.
  6. As well as brutish, etc, people are also capable of great kindness and personal sacrifice. I am baffled about the differences.
  7. I agree that the classical definitions of God create logical contradictions.
  8. I'm not convinced that logic can provide a sufficient description of reality

 I could go on, but I'm not yet convinced that I am getting a fair shake by the majority of people on this site. There is A LOT of heat here. The disdain for theists that some have is palpable. If that attitude persists into the "rationalist utopia" then when theism is expunged that disdain will simply be re-directed at another target.  So much for a better future. 


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In answer to the original

In answer to the original question:

"We'd be killing each other over different things."

I'm sorry, I really need to get this jammed cynicism dial fixed. 

Freedom of religious belief is an inalienable right. Stuffing that belief down other people's throats is not.


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The Patrician wrote: In

The Patrician wrote:

In answer to the original question:

"We'd be killing each other over different things."

I'm sorry, I really need to get this jammed cynicism dial fixed. 

 

LOL. I think mine is from the same manufacturer.


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wavefreak wrote: Thanks for

wavefreak wrote:
Thanks for a thoughtful response.

You're welcome. Smile
The 'heat' on this site isn't one of it's more rational characteristics.
The debates can sometimes appear to be quite emotional and hot-headed. However, the core message of the movement is one of rationality.

Quote:
What about the "Law of Unintended Consequences". Could there be any downside to a "fully rationalized" culture? I am again not trying to trap anybody here. I have found through experience that if you don't examine the potential negatives of something you haven't fully explored the issues.

Well, if a culture was fully rationalized then any problems that cropped up would be dealt with in the most effective way. I can't see any downsides to an increase in rationality. After all, if there was a downside then the rational thing to do would be to find a way to settle this downside... so I don't think a downside would be possible.

I could see a downside to a culture that thought it was rational just because it had thrown out theism but carried on to replace it with something else irrational...

Quote:
On first blush, a rational culture sounds like a good thing. But things rarely go as expected. For example, if theism were to be eliminated, would that require "thought police".

We don't mean eliminate it as in enforce that no one ever believed it it again, we just mean bust the myth to the extent that Christianity and Islam are treated the same way we treat the ancient religions of Greece and Egypt. Although the odd person might believe in it, there wouldn't be powerful political organisations pushing superstitious agendas on people.

Obviously this elimination of theism wouldn't be the end of all irrationalities and problems. However, theistic beliefs are a source of many of today's problems. I know that not all theists are fundies but as far as I'm aware, the most effective way to deal with fundies is to discredit theism as a whole and moderates naturally get caught in the crossfire. Not that's such a bad thing... even a harmless degree of religion is better replaced by a more rational alternative.


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wavefreak wrote: I have

wavefreak wrote:
I have problems with homosexuality, probably in part because of first hand experience with a pedophile. If it is OK to be gay because "it's the way I was born" then why is pedophilia wrong if that's the "way they are born". I don't want to explore this because I am too emotionally bound to the subject so please don't freak out on me.

I know you didn't want to explore it but can I suggest this point:
Peadophilia is wrong even if it's a straight man abusing a girl.
It's the abuse of a child that's wrong.
Homosexuality with consent isn't abusive.
(You don't have to answer this, I just thought it was worth considering)


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wavefreak wrote: I have

wavefreak wrote:

I have problems with homosexuality, probably in part because of first hand experience with a pedophile. If it is OK to be gay because "it's the way I was born" then why is pedophilia wrong if that's the "way they are born". I don't want to explore this because I am too emotionally bound to the subject so please don't freak out on me.

Then why is heterosexuality OK because "it's the way I was born". Paedophilia is wrong, only if acted upon. The majority of paedophiles wouldn't touch a child, because they themselves know it to be wrong, although suppressing such desires would make them go crazy eventually. The reason paedophilia is wrong is because all sexual relations should rely upon open, uncoersed consent. A child cannot give such consent because it cannot understand. It also causes psychological harm and could also teach the child that it is ok to do that to children when he/she grows up. Homosexuality on the otherhand is just as consensual as heterosexuality, it is between two consenting adults, neither feels violated, harmed and both will get out of it the pleasure they want. It harms no one. I personally don't enjoy the thought of two men buggering, nor do I enjoy the thought of having sex with a fat lady, but it doesn't harm me that they do so, nor does it harm anyone that they do so. I have friends who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and they're just ordinary people. There's nothing different about them except who they would choose to sleep with.  

wavefreak wrote:
 

I am not convinced that science can solve "what ails humanity". People are often brutish, selfish and will willingly hurt others. They don't need theism for this. And science won't change this.

As well as brutish, etc, people are also capable of great kindness and personal sacrifice. I am baffled about the differences.

No, but maybe religion can't either. Ethics can. You don't need religion to have ethics, in fact ethics are often purer without religion.


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Strafio wrote: I could see

Strafio wrote:

I could see a downside to a culture that thought it was rational just because it had thrown out theism but carried on to replace it with something else irrational...

 

Maybe this is what I'm working towards. Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I fear that the best intentions of rationalists would be subverted into something little better than blind theism.

 

In a different vein, theism and religions exist. An explanation for this fact that I belive atheists can except is that humans evolved in a manner that led to religious ideation. Whether you agree with the results or not, religion served a valuable purpose in giving indivdual cultures a structure to define and govern their daily lives. Since humans are a product of evolution, then you must accept that religious ideas are also a result of evolution.  If rationalism is correct and we can safely abandon theism as the primary defining core of our society, aren't we going against our own genetics?  Are we also then moving away from genetics based evolution into something else?


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wavefreak wrote: In a

wavefreak wrote:

In a different vein, theism and religions exist. An explanation for this fact that I belive atheists can except is that humans evolved in a manner that led to religious ideation. Whether you agree with the results or not, religion served a valuable purpose in giving indivdual cultures a structure to define and govern their daily lives. Since humans are a product of evolution, then you must accept that religious ideas are also a result of evolution.  If rationalism is correct and we can safely abandon theism as the primary defining core of our society, aren't we going against our own genetics?  Are we also then moving away from genetics based evolution into something else?

No. I'd agree that perhaps some people are religious because of this. But they are still open to reason if they are not indoctrinated. Also, many people here do not have a need for religion. We have our reason, our logic, and we are quite happy with it. Maybe we share a different set of genes - it is an interesting hypothesis, but one that is probably overly simple. I also see no problem with deism, it solves the problem for those people whose brains still clutch to the intentional stance but does not enforce religious doctrine upon them.

If the hypothesis is true, then such a society would be naturally selecting a certain set of genes over another. In societies where alcohol has been traditionally drunk, Western Europe among other places - people with a high tolerance of alcohol have tended to ber selected, hence why Western Europeans generally have a higher tolerance of alcohol than people from East Asia. A Vietnamese friend of mine throws up after a couple of drinks. Now, would there be ethical implications of such genes being naturally selected? I would think not so long as it wasn't through a eugenics program - that would be wrong. In fact it could be argued that such genes being naturally selected would be of benefit to the human race. But it is one of those things that must happen in natural cause so as not to infringe on the rights/interests of persons.


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wavefreak wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
Maybe this is what I'm working towards. Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I fear that the best intentions of rationalists would be subverted into something little better than blind theism.

So far, everything that the RRS has targeted have been destructive elements of theism. We're not trying to create a new world order or anything, we've just recognised something in our society that is causing problems and have taken steps to neutralize it.
Atheist activists in general have stuck purely to defending their own rights against religious institutions and are yet to attack the rights of religious people. And it's not going to happen either.

Quote:
In a different vein, theism and religions exist. An explanation for this fact that I belive atheists can except is that humans evolved in a manner that led to religious ideation. Whether you agree with the results or not, religion served a valuable purpose in giving indivdual cultures a structure to define and govern their daily lives.

I disagree. If you look at history, where religion won out it was often by being the most oppressive and powerful that could kil/subdue heretics and infidels. This made them the 'fittest' in the Darwinian sense and they survived, but these characteristics are not welcome in today's society. These religions have been watered down in their brutality (no more Inquisition) which is why they've survived to a degree, but in an age of reason they will always be undesirable. What's more, cultures had order and identity without dogmatic religion. Athens and Rome are two models of ancient secularism. Both cities were home to major advancements in knowledge and technology.


Quote:
Since humans are a product of evolution, then you must accept that religious ideas are also a result of evolution. If rationalism is correct and we can safely abandon theism as the primary defining core of our society, aren't we going against our own genetics? Are we also then moving away from genetics based evolution into something else?

Lol! Evolution is explanatory, not normative.
It tells us how we came to be, not how we should be.
Genetics hasn't played a major part in our evolution for a while now because most people survive long enough to have children. What brings us forward nowdays is the state of the societies we are in. Societies have evolved to become better, evolved based on the efforts of people who wanted to improve their societies.

The enlightenment has been a major part of the success of the west and as our society has flourished, the influence of religion has lessened. Incidently, here in England, theism is not part of our cultural identity at all. Some people still identify themselves with Christian tradition but don't really believe in the metaphysics. Many European theologians are develloping 'Radical Theology', which while denies being atheism, certainly isn't theism as most people understand it.

In short, there are some groups in America who are damaging society by holding on to superstitions that the rest of the develloped world let go of long ago and RRS is about freeing American society from their grasp.


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I need to cogitate awhile.

I need to cogitate awhile. Some good points.


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wavefreak wrote: It was

wavefreak wrote:

It was not an assertion so I don't need to support it. It was a question. If you re-read what I posted, then you will see that my assertion is essentially that there are always un-intended consequences. I don't see any discourse about what they would be. What is being proposed is a radical, fundamental change in human culture. So I am supposed to abandon theism simply because atheists are certain that the world would be better? Are you telling me that there is no possibility of negative consequences? As for coming clean, my only motivation is to in some small leave the world a better place than when I entered it. I'm not going to change any minds here. But I can certainly learn more about what those minds think.

Quote:

Thank you for admitting (under pressure) that you are a theist and exposing your bias in this discussion. Why pretend to be open minded when you are not?

Your assumption that the unintended consequences would be bad is at least as unfounded as an assumption that they would be good. That's the tricky thing about unintended consequences: you can't see them beforehand. If you'd like to point out some specific bad consquences, then we can have a real discussion. At this point, all you have is another naked assertion that the consequences of an irreligious society would be bad.  

wavefreak wrote:

I would assert that this will never happen. Politics is not about being rational. It is about power, money and control.

Quote:

From a realist perspective, yes. However it was only thirty or forty years ago that American politics was at least grounded in the ideal that policy makers must have a rational basis for their policies. Politicians couldn't go in front of the cameras with "family values" or "faith-based" (read: "God sez so&quotEye-wink and get away with it. There was a secular, rationalist political culture that has been undermined by the resurgence of the Christian Right in the last few decades.

wavefreak wrote:

You are really focused on the present. Roll it forward 100 years. What do you envision? If you insist that there is no possibility of negative consequences without even examining the potential then you are just as delusional as the those that want me to believe the the bible is the undisputed truth.

I focused on stuff that could be discussed with some degree of confidence. You can extrapolate whatever long-term effects from those beneficial short-term effects that you want, if speculative science fiction is your game. Problem being, the whole discussion will be coming out of your ass, which probably doesn't concern you as a theist.

I never said there was no possibility of negative effects but I'm not about to make your argument for you, since that's obviously what you are here to try to prove. Come on, quit the dance of 1000 veils and tell us what you think the negative effects of a rational society will be.

wavefreak wrote:

The comment about pedophile priests is a cheap shot. There would still be pedophiles. And as far as I know, pedophilia is not justified by theism. What experience do you have with pedophiles? I have first hand experience. It wasn't a priest and religion had nothing to do with it.

Whatever. Priests are pedophiles at a rate far beyond that of the rest of the population. The simple correlation is enough to send up warning flags about religion, never mind the fact that we can see where the specific Catholic doctrine of celibacy has caused the problem.

wavefreak wrote:

Let's be clear.

  1. I am not a fundamentalist.
  2. I do not believe the bible is the unvarnished truth.
  3. I have no problem with the theory of evolution.
  4. I have problems with homosexuality, probably in part because of first hand experience with a pedophile. If it is OK to be gay because "it's the way I was born" then why is pedophilia wrong if that's the "way they are born". I don't want to explore this because I am too emotionally bound to the subject so please don't freak out on me.
  5. I am not convinced that science can solve "what ails humanity". People are often brutish, selfish and will willingly hurt others. They don't need theism for this. And science won't change this.
  6. As well as brutish, etc, people are also capable of great kindness and personal sacrifice. I am baffled about the differences.
  7. I agree that the classical definitions of God create logical contradictions.
  8. I'm not convinced that logic can provide a sufficient description of reality

1. Good.

2. Very good.

3. Super good.

4. Homosexuality and pedophilia are not the same thing, or even similar things.

5. People are also generous, compassionate and altruistic - by nature. Theism and science have nothing to do with this, although, through science, we may discover the moral code that lies in our genes.

6. Science goes a lot further toward explaining the variations in human nature than religion. Actually, religion offers no explaination at all, but rather condemns us all out of the womb and asks us to blindly obey a list of commands.

7. Doubleplusreal good.

8. Excellent. It can't. But it remains the only tool we have.

wavefreak wrote:

I could go on, but I'm not yet convinced that I am getting a fair shake by the majority of people on this site. There is A LOT of heat here. The disdain for theists that some have is palpable. If that attitude persists into the "rationalist utopia" then when theism is expunged that disdain will simply be re-directed at another target. So much for a better future.

I may have sent some disdain your way because it looked, off the top, like you were coming in here with the silly theistic rhetorical device of trying to act like an honest, scientific questioner, then pretending to find fault with the answers you got from atheists in an attempt to make the reader think that atheists couldn't convince an honestly open minded person. This approach is childish, deceptive and manipulative, and reflects a desire not to learn anything but to score PR points for the theist side.

Please accept my apologies if you are in fact someone who's mind is not already made up in favor of God.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


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Tilberian wrote: wavefreak

Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

Please accept my apologies if you are in fact someone who's mind is not already made up in favor of God.

Apology accepted with full graciousness.

My mind is made up about very little. Yes, I am a theist, if only for the highly irrational reason that it seems like a damn lonely universe otherwise.

I suppose I can understand some of what is coming across as disdain. I see a lot of baiting going on around here.


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wavefreak wrote: Tilberian

wavefreak wrote:
Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

Please accept my apologies if you are in fact someone who's mind is not already made up in favor of God.

Apology accepted with full graciousness.

My mind is made up about very little. Yes, I am a theist, if only for the highly irrational reason that it seems like a damn lonely universe otherwise.

I suppose I can understand some of what is coming across as disdain. I see a lot of baiting going on around here.

Apology rescinded in that case. You can't come in here and try to tell us that we are taking the wrong path to truth when you admit yourself that you just believe whatever seems comforting. You've abandoned even the ideal of objective examination of the facts. Given that you are highly rational when it suits you, this is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty and cowardice. Now tell me again why I shouldn't be disdainful?

 

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Tilberian wrote: wavefreak

Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:
Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

Please accept my apologies if you are in fact someone who's mind is not already made up in favor of God.

Apology accepted with full graciousness.

My mind is made up about very little. Yes, I am a theist, if only for the highly irrational reason that it seems like a damn lonely universe otherwise.

I suppose I can understand some of what is coming across as disdain. I see a lot of baiting going on around here.

Apology rescinded in that case. You can't come in here and try to tell us that we are taking the wrong path to truth when you admit yourself that you just believe whatever seems comforting. You've abandoned even the ideal of objective examination of the facts. Given that you are highly rational when it suits you, this is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty and cowardice. Now tell me again why I shouldn't be disdainful?

 

Because I admit I am not always rational I am dishonest? If anything, that is more honest. I make no pretense about being something other than I am. Nobody is rational all the time. Intellectual dishonesty is when you DON"T look at yourself and see your whole self, admitting that there is ALWAYS room for change and improvement. And for the record, all the desire in the universe will not make anybody 100% rational. I'm willing to accept that by nature part of me is irrational.

 

I haven't felt this much "evangelizing" since I hung out with fundamentalists. For them it was conform or go to hell. For some here it seems it is conform or we'll give you hell. 


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wavefreak wrote: Because I

wavefreak wrote:

Because I admit I am not always rational I am dishonest? If anything, that is more honest. I make no pretense about being something other than I am. Nobody is rational all the time. Intellectual dishonesty is when you DON"T look at yourself and see your whole self, admitting that there is ALWAYS room for change and improvement. And for the record, all the desire in the universe will not make anybody 100% rational. I'm willing to accept that by nature part of me is irrational.

Strawman alert!

No one is arguing that people are always rational. I have been proceeding from the position that it is impossible for us to overcome our mental and perceptual barriers to really seeing the universe. My argument does not depend on the premise that we must be perfectly rational.

My argument is that we must hold rationality as the only basis for a common standard of truth. In other words, we must be as rational as possible, and if someone else can point out where we are not being rational, we must admit our error.  It isn't necessary that we ever reach a point of perfect rationality, but that we hold it as our ideal.

You dishonesty comes in when you try to defend your god claims by saying that rationality is not your paradigm for determining truth. It certainly is. You will not accept irrational claims as true in any other part of your life. The statement "God exists" is a scientific claim that is either true or not true. It is subject to the same scrutiny as the claim "Santa Claus exists". Yet you will accept one and not the other. You fail to apply the same standard across all statements of fact. There are two possibilities: you are either ignorant of the contradiction or purposely ignoring it. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and chose the latter.  

wavefreak wrote:

I haven't felt this much "evangelizing" since I hung out with fundamentalists. For them it was conform or go to hell. For some here it seems it is conform or we'll give you hell.

Sorry, but that's a false analogy. I'm not asking you to conform to anything, I'm simply calling you out for being dishonest in the way you determine truth, and for being wrong in your attempt to attack rationality. 

Here's the thing - there can't be multiple standards of determining truth. If there are, then civilization might as well pack it's tent, because all hope of discourse is futile. We've seen that the Bible is no good basis for creating a common truth standard, because no one can agree on what the Bible says and so much is not addressed in this modern age. Same for all the rest of the ancient texts. So unless another prophet comes along who can convince us all that he has all the answers, we are left with good old pragmatism and observed reality, flawed as it may be.

Sorry if it seems draconian to insist on the supremacy of reason, but the fact is that it is a battle that has already been won. No one in this day and age can afford to truely abandon reason for long, and pretending that you have is profitless, as far as I can see. 

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What we have here is a

What we have here is a failure to communicte. You said I was intellectualy dishonest. From my point of view that is an ad hominem attack on my character. For you, it apparantley has some other meaning.

 

If you want to play dueling fallacies:

 

"there can't be multiple standards of determining truth. If there are, then civilization might as well pack it's tent,"

Appeal to Consequences

An appeal to consequences is an attempt to motivate belief with an appeal either to the good consequences of believing or the bad consequences of disbelieving.

 

 

The real problem I am having with this forum is I never know when I am expected to be strictly llogical and when I 'm not. And the "alpha males" of this place seem to be able to step in and out of those modalities at will and without recrimination but god (or not-god) help the uninitiated.

 


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If the only change in this

If the only change in this scenario is the disappearance of religious belief, I don't suppose we'd be substantially better off. Maybe a little. We would also need certain associated actions to take place. For instance, rather than a child simply not being taught creationism, I would want him or her to know the fundamentals of hard science. To have the mentality available to him or her to distinguish what supporting evidence means versus magical thinking and naked assertion; to know that rationality is a great advantage we all have and that we have to actively use it. To know that authority can be challenged by a persuasive argument and better research; that old science books aren't holy or special, and can be wrong.
We would have to improve the fundamental understanding people have of scientific and philosophical ideas that have been established, but not enjoyed by the masses, for thousands of years to gain an appreciable effect. To be secular, but still hobbled by ignorance or magical thinking, is not enough. Ignorant people will never have real choices: they will always be vulnerable to manipulation by authority.


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wavefreak wrote: What we

wavefreak wrote:

What we have here is a failure to communicte. You said I was intellectualy dishonest. From my point of view that is an ad hominem attack on my character. For you, it apparantley has some other meaning.

No, it has the same exact meaning that you used when you said that it is intellectually dishonest to not look at your whole thought and recognize all the parts. You are refusing to recognize the conflict between your normal insistence on rationality and your acceptance of faith as the appropriate device for investigating the question of God. 

wavefreak wrote:

If you want to play dueling fallacies:

"there can't be multiple standards of determining truth. If there are, then civilization might as well pack it's tent,"

Appeal to Consequences

An appeal to consequences is an attempt to motivate belief with an appeal either to the good consequences of believing or the bad consequences of disbelieving.

True, and probably not the strongest argument on my part. However... 

The appeal to consquences is justified in this case because we have already determined and agreed that there is no system of thought that is going to deliver the Truth. So now we have to find a system of thought that is going to deliver the consequences we want. I hold that pragmatic utility is what we need, and that rational discourse must be chosen because the alternative is chaos and death, both for the individual and society. 

Please come clean here. Are you truly and honestly proposing that we abandon rationality as a common standard for determining truth? 

 

wavefreak wrote:

The real problem I am having with this forum is I never know when I am expected to be strictly llogical and when I 'm not. And the "alpha males" of this place seem to be able to step in and out of those modalities at will and without recrimination but god (or not-god) help the uninitiated.

I can help you there. Be logical at all times, an no one will give you any trouble.

BTW I'm a long way from being an alpha male in this forum.  

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


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Icebergin wrote: Theism is

Icebergin wrote:
Theism is for the mentally unstable who would not be able to function in a moral, productive way without the idea that after they die, a great and powerful sky-daddy will take them to a magical place of wonder and happiness.

I would not say that theism is for the mentally unstable.  I understand the term "God Delusion" now, but mentally unstable seems to be of an entirely different ballgame. 

Ah, the pitter patter of tiny feet in huge combat boots.


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Tilberian wrote: Please

Tilberian wrote:

Please come clean here. Are you truly and honestly proposing that we abandon rationality as a common standard for determining truth?

I can help you there. Be logical at all times, an no one will give you any trouble.

BTW I'm a long way from being an alpha male in this forum.

 

I am not proposing anything, yet. I am attempting to figure out the rules of engagement here. One problem Iamhaving is it seems the subject changes from one end of a thread to another. As for always being logical at all times, this isn't practical. Before offering a formal, logicalargument, it needs to be beat upon and thrashed about. Then you put into formal premises and draw your logical conclusions. If I start a post with "This as a proof ..." then it had better damn well be logical. But most of what I'm doing is probing different ideas. I guess I'm floating trial balloons and getting them shot down with ICBMs. Feels like overkill.

 

I may start tagging my posts with (not a proof) or (trial balloon) or (rip apart the logic on this one). Maybe that would help. 


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wavefreak wrote: If

wavefreak wrote:

If rationalism is correct and we can safely abandon theism as the primary defining core of our society, aren't we going against our own genetics? Are we also then moving away from genetics based evolution into something else?

Dawkins has some good points on this. His theory is that religion is an unintended side effect of a genuinely beneficial trait, namely, the tendency of children to copy their parents and totally internalize anything they say.

As for the direction evolution is taking now, we have already pretty much split our evolution off from genetics. These days, it looks like evolution is going to favor the faithful, since they keep having kids and people in secular populations don't. 

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