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alexander_q
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Hi there.

 

I am searching for any and all studies critical of religion in any way for my examination. These include studies that criticise religion directly, or studies that examine an element of religion closely (for example, a study connecting masturbation with lower incidence of prostate-cancer).

 

Cheers.

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Moved from the Arena. Don't start any topics in the Arena. It has a specific purpose and only moderators are allowed to start new threads there for discussion.

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Hi there.

 

I am searching for any and all studies critical of religion in any way for my examination. These include studies that criticise religion directly, or studies that examine an element of religion closely (for example, a study connecting masturbation with lower incidence of prostate-cancer).

 

Cheers.

That's a huge question. What do you mean by critical? Critical in the sense of debunking such as "Religion is BS!" sort of thing, or critical in the sense of a reasoned analysis of it from sociological, anthropological, myth studies, etc approach? I can only recommend the latter as I find little use for the former.

 

If you could narrow down what you would like to focus on that would help. Science and religion? The evolution of myth? Religion and human spirituality, etc? I can easily recommend things that interest me, but that may not be your particular leaning.

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Hi there.

 

I am searching for any and all studies critical of religion in any way for my examination. These include studies that criticise religion directly, or studies that examine an element of religion closely (for example, a study connecting masturbation with lower incidence of prostate-cancer).

 

Cheers.

That's a huge question. What do you mean by critical? Critical in the sense of debunking such as "Religion is BS!" sort of thing, or critical in the sense of a reasoned analysis of it from sociological, anthropological, myth studies, etc approach? I can only recommend the latter as I find little use for the former.

 

If you could narrow down what you would like to focus on that would help. Science and religion? The evolution of myth? Religion and human spirituality, etc? I can easily recommend things that interest me, but that may not be your particular leaning.

 

I'm sorry it was unclear. I guess I mean sociological - studies that show a disproportionate amount of christians in jail, connect christianity with mental illness, violence, low IQ, racism etc. Things that show the real-world life quality implications of religion, particularly christianity.

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I'm sorry it was unclear. I guess I mean sociological - studies that show a disproportionate amount of christians in jail, connect christianity with mental illness, violence, low IQ, racism etc. Things that show the real-world life quality implications of religion, particularly christianity.

 

Which is in effect the "religion is bullshit" approach.

 

My opinion is that the "anti-religion" approach is beating the proverbial dead horse. Anti-religion rhetoric has its usefulness in applying a sort of pressure to the ideas of religion in the modern world, but it also enables a segment of the religious population to play the persecution card (itself a dead horse). If you are seeking "real-world life quality implications", don't you also want to look at positive ideas as well?

 

What is the incentive for religious folk to drop their cherished beliefs in light of this evidence?

 

What are you offering as an alternative or do you seek simply to destroy religion?

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I'm sorry it was unclear. I guess I mean sociological - studies that show a disproportionate amount of christians in jail, connect christianity with mental illness, violence, low IQ, racism etc. Things that show the real-world life quality implications of religion, particularly christianity.

 

Which is in effect the "religion is bullshit" approach.

 

My opinion is that the "anti-religion" approach is beating the proverbial dead horse. Anti-religion rhetoric has its usefulness in applying a sort of pressure to the ideas of religion in the modern world, but it also enables a segment of the religious population to play the persecution card (itself a dead horse).

I agree with this which is why I say personally I have little use for the 'religion is bullshit' stuff.

 

That said however, if taken as counters to challenges from the fundamentalist so-called "think tanks", it does offer a certain amount of empowerment against inaccuracies, and intimidating claims such as saying atheism leads to crime. Answering with actual data can serve to deflate such claims and empower the individual seeking to break away from their power over his mind and begin to search out new truth and meaning for themselves. In that sense of the word, it serves a purpose.

 

The danger of course is when anti-anything sentiments begin to define us. At that point we cease the road of rationality into a new form of anti-rational religiousness ourselves; seeking not just to free ourselves, but to now define ourselves by it. Once freed, I think its then important to not just understand the technical errors of it for us now, but to understand it in a larger context which will allow us to understand it more objectively, through which we can then approach the whole issue in a more constructive manner.

 

That's important since after all we still deal with it in our lives by the simple fact we are part of a culture where it exists, but even more importantly it is and will always remain a part of our personal experiences which will constantly be there from our past. True power over something in our lives is through a reasoned understanding, and that doesn't come through an 'anti-something' analysis. That approach never really is able to help integrate the past into the present. It just simply rejects it and attempts to ignore it.

 

So to answering challenges, any Google search on erroneous claims such as prison ratios should pop up results pretty quickly. One reasonable resource to address all these unsupportable Creationist claims is http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs.html Another site I find more reasonable is http://www.religioustolerance.org/ That site attempts to present the points of view of many sides on religious issues and is helpful in showing reasonable people out there with more than just one perspective (always useful!).

 

 

If you are seeking "real-world life quality implications", don't you also want to look at positive ideas as well?

 

What is the incentive for religious folk to drop their cherished beliefs in light of this evidence?

 

What are you offering as an alternative or do you seek simply to destroy religion?

I think answers to these questions come when someone has begun to establish themselves beyond the past they are trying to free themselves from. But I agree it is very important to not lose sight of this question for ourselves in differentiating ourselves from what we were to what we're becoming. Both have to happen. If it doesn't we can just become bitter souls, slaves to our anger.

 

There a lots and lots of positive things to look into as well. For me those things unfold by asking ourselves what is it that we wanted that that system that it failed us in? And that question is one that is almost a daily question, not just a single look. That answer is buried deep within, under all the layers of structures that were heaped on it in the system, in all it's symbols and arguments, and interactions, and doctrines, and beliefs, etc. It's the essential 'self', in other words. Finding that and acting on that, is a life process. That's the real fun of all this, and the greatest reward.

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Deconversion is a complex problem. The main problem is emotional in nature, so no amount of scientific evidence will help someone who finds the meaning of their life through religion.

 

I want this information for a different purpose. I intend to challenge the automatic tax-exempt status granted to religious institutions in my country.

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I want this information for a different purpose. I intend to challenge the automatic tax-exempt status granted to religious institutions in my country.

 

tell me more

 

edit- specifically I would like to know how you link the information you are looking for with the challenge to tax exempt status.

 

I can't find anything that states tax exempt status is automatic for a religious organization.

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Deconversion is a complex problem. The main problem is emotional in nature, so no amount of scientific evidence will help someone who finds the meaning of their life through religion.

 

I want this information for a different purpose. I intend to challenge the automatic tax-exempt status granted to religious institutions in my country.

 

I don't know that tax exemption for religions or non-profit organisations is "automatic" in Australia. They would be subject to scrutiny, I'm sure if applying for a tax exempt status.

 

The tax-free status of Scientology has prompted many people in Australia to question the ability of religions to evade the payment of taxes, particularly through companies that they own and operate, seemingly as "non-profit", but in reality making huge salaries for directors, managers, CEOs etc.

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As I understand it, being a religious organisation that is "instituted to advance or promote religious purposes" is enough to qualify for tax exempt status in Australia. I hope to learn about the real-world effects of religion (to be fair and intellectually honest, I suppose I must examine both the negative and positive side-effects - I am the first to admit my bias towards the former) and discuss them with a sympathetic senator to see if something can be done.

 

It seems like my mind is already made up on the subject - indeed I am leading considerably towards religion being a bad thing. I hope to see if my leaning, based only on personal experience and anecdote, is borne out by the science.

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As I understand it, being a religious organisation that is "instituted to advance or promote religious purposes" is enough to qualify for tax exempt status in Australia. I hope to learn about the real-world effects of religion (to be fair and intellectually honest, I suppose I must examine both the negative and positive side-effects - I am the first to admit my bias towards the former) and discuss them with a sympathetic senator to see if something can be done.

 

It seems like my mind is already made up on the subject - indeed I am leading considerably towards religion being a bad thing. I hope to see if my leaning, based only on personal experience and anecdote, is borne out by the science.

 

A little more than that is needed Alexander.

 

from your link:

An institution will be a religious institution if:

 

* its objects and activities reflect its character as a body instituted for the promotion of some religious object, and

* the beliefs and practices of the members constitute a religion.

 

The term ‘religion’ is not confined to major religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, but also extends to Buddhism, Taoism, Jehovah’s Witness, the Free Daist Communion of Australia and Scientology. The categories of religion are not closed. Nonetheless, to be a religion there must be:

 

* belief in a supernatural being, thing or principle, and

* acceptance of canons of conduct that give effect to that belief, but that do not offend against the ordinary laws.

 

There are further conditions a religious institution must meet to be exempt from income tax. The religious institution:

 

* must meet one of the three tests, or

* must be listed by name in the income tax regulations for these purposes, and have a physical presence in Australia but pursue its objectives and incur its expenditure principally outside Australia.

 

The three tests are:

 

1. physical presence in Australia test

2. deductible gift recipient test, or

3. prescribed by law test.

 

I agree with the sentiment of religious organizations paying taxes like any other corporation, but I'm not sure that the information you seek will be of much assistance. You might be able to get exempt status for individual congregations if you can prove they violate the law in the doctrine espoused, but how can studies such as a high number of Christians in the prison population can be used to contest an organization's exempt status?

 

Can you be a little more detailed as to your plan of attack? If it is feasible there in Oz, we might be able to use it in the USA as well. :)

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I suppose I must examine both the negative and positive side-effects - I am the first to admit my bias towards the former) and discuss them with a sympathetic senator to see if something can be done.

 

It seems like my mind is already made up on the subject - indeed I am leading considerably towards religion being a bad thing. I hope to see if my leaning, based only on personal experience and anecdote, is borne out by the science.

The difficulty is you are saying religion is one thing and one thing only, failing to recognize how that some may in fact be legitimately beneficial to individuals, where others may be detrimental. I just started a topic on just this type of thing that how you ask this stands as an example of the complexity of the question. Read here: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?/topic/42387-what-is-religion/page__view__findpost__p__618667

 

If I were to call each of those nine of uses of the word religion as R1, R2, etc, what you are asking about is R8 only. Is it legitimate, in the sense that it provides "food" or support for someone or a society on a functional level as part of that world? The problem is, is that though something can be "legitimate" for that functional level, to another functional level it is not. To you, it is detrimental. To them, it is helpful. What is helpful to you, is likewise detrimental to them.

 

What you appear to be trying to get at is to make as a statement for everyone, that they need to function at your level, and those systems will keep them down - in essence. What you would need to show is that on a whole, that yours and theirs contexts are directly injured by them; that supporting a religion institution that teaches about celestial beings who watch over them and answer prayers performed through the proper rites, has a direct detrimental influence on them, such as 40% of this one cult over here end up committing crimes against others in society as a direct response to what they are being taught. Finding that in actuality is going to be very hard to support except in the most extreme cases.

 

Is religion harmful? Yes, and no. It has been and can be helpful, depending on the context. What you are looking for is a magic bullet that gets rid of a perceived enemy that frankly the vast majority of people scarcely come close to understanding anything about. Super-simplified views, such as "religion is dangerous", is itself just as religious, and just as dangerous to society. I'll be happy to expand on it.

 

Do I think society would benefit through more inclusive worldviews? Yes. Are there religious movements/institutions that could support that end? Of course. Societies create these institutions to support themselves. It is them that drive the changes to them. What you or I can do, is not try to effect that change by "getting rid of them", or attacking them in some manner, but through influencing the society towards that change that then changes the institutions - if it in fact merited for them for where they are at. You can't force anyone into your new worldview, any more than them persecuting other religions led them to convert.

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A little more than that is needed Alexander.

 

Meeting the "physical presence in Australia test" isn't particularly hard.

but how can studies such as a high number of Christians in the prison population can be used to contest an organization's exempt status

There is a senator in my state who has proposed assessing an organisation's benefit to society as compared to its detriment, and determine its tax exempt status based on this comparison. At present I support this idea. Thusly, I seek knowledge of the detriment, as the benefit is immediately apparent and well publicized. The detriment seems to be a longer term problem, better analysed through collating large amounts of data. This is the data I seek.

My own personal opinion is that religion elevates a society to a certain standard, which is great if the society at large is below that standard, and bad if the society at large is already above that standard. This doesn't always seem to be the case, for example, with Uganda taking homophobia and running with it, but in general it seems to be the case. My personal opinion, however, is irrelevant to this discussion.

The difficulty is you are saying religion is one thing and one thing only, failing to recognize how that some may in fact be legitimately beneficial to individuals, where others may be detrimental.

I agree that religion has many sides to it, which is just what I want society and the law to acknowledge. The state should assess the pros and cons of any institution before determining whether or not to lend support to it above and beyond that afforded to every other organisation.

It would be better still to find exactly which teachings within religion lead to bad societal outcomes, and attempt to educate people with this information. In my country, children in primary school participate in something called the NAPLAN test. From the website: "Every year, all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are assessed on the same days using national tests in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) and Numeracy." I would like to see extra "civic" factors assessed, focusing on such things as racism, homophobia, and in addition, basic knowledge of science etc.

What you or I can do, is not try to effect that change by "getting rid of them", or attacking them in some manner, but through influencing the society towards that change that then changes the institutions

The way I see it, every child is born ignorant, racist, and intensely gullible. Something must be done to ensure every child is educated in such a way that encourages critical, analytical and scientific thought, with a view to the betterment of society. Where people are educated "beyond their ability to reason", then those people should be protected from exploitation by others.

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The way I see it, every child is born ignorant, racist, and intensely gullible. Something must be done to ensure every child is educated in such a way that encourages critical, analytical and scientific thought, with a view to the betterment of society. Where people are educated "beyond their ability to reason", then those people should be protected from exploitation by others.

To play devil's advocate, imagine I'm a staunch Christian who believes firmly in the value of a good Christian value system. Now I'll restate the same thing, "Something must be done to ensure every child is educated in such a way that encourages a strong sense of community, love for his neighbor, and a good moral foundation, with a view to the betterment of society." And they argue an education that includes God and religion is what makes society better, just as you listed a set of things you believe will. Then the argument comes done to proving one is legitimate and the other isn't. They also see that not teaching about God, to be harmful, just as you view that teaching about God is. What's the measure of harm and the measure of benefit? Who is making that determination?

 

I'm just trying to make what seems clear, fit better into reality in order for a more effective discussion to occur. They have a point of view, which when you exchange the words around, sounds a lot a like. It sounds like "My religion is right. No, my religion is right." (Substitute the word system for religion - same thing).

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What's the measure of harm and the measure of benefit? Who is making that determination?

 

Science.

 

In the absence of religion, are people less compelled to racism and violence? Are they better educated? Does having them better educated allow them to take on more functional roles in society? How much human suffering is avoided?

 

I'd be happy to cooperate with religion on these subjects. For example, in my town, I have been developing relationships with a multitude of church pastors, waiting for the day I can bring up these sorts of things. I want to gently remind them that they are largely responsible for the education of their congregation, and try and find some middle ground on certain values (which shouldn't be hard, for the most part. Most people agree that suffering is to avoided. We just disagree on how to achieve these outcomes).

 

I do not live in a theocracy. If religion is harmful, it should not be supported by the state, and I believe the state can be made to see this.

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What's the measure of harm and the measure of benefit? Who is making that determination?

 

Science.

 

In the absence of religion, are people less compelled to racism and violence? Are they better educated? Does having them better educated allow them to take on more functional roles in society? How much human suffering is avoided?

 

I'd be happy to cooperate with religion on these subjects. For example, in my town, I have been developing relationships with a multitude of church pastors, waiting for the day I can bring up these sorts of things. I want to gently remind them that they are largely responsible for the education of their congregation, and try and find some middle ground on certain values (which shouldn't be hard, for the most part. Most people agree that suffering is to avoided. We just disagree on how to achieve these outcomes).

 

I do not live in a theocracy. If religion is harmful, it should not be supported by the state, and I believe the state can be made to see this.

 

:HaHa:

 

 

And hence, a new religion is born.

 

I'll come back to this later as I'm too tired right now. For now, some food for thought, I thought science was about the natural world. Apparently it's mission has moved from that to the beacon of Light for Mankind on its road to Salvation, the Answer to Humanity's Quest for the Immortal Truth?

 

And people recoil at the challenge of those who turn science in religion?? :)

 

I'll revisit this in the morning.

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What's the measure of harm and the measure of benefit? Who is making that determination?

 

Science.

 

In the absence of religion, are people less compelled to racism and violence? Are they better educated? Does having them better educated allow them to take on more functional roles in society? How much human suffering is avoided?

 

I'd be happy to cooperate with religion on these subjects. For example, in my town, I have been developing relationships with a multitude of church pastors, waiting for the day I can bring up these sorts of things. I want to gently remind them that they are largely responsible for the education of their congregation, and try and find some middle ground on certain values (which shouldn't be hard, for the most part. Most people agree that suffering is to avoided. We just disagree on how to achieve these outcomes).

 

I do not live in a theocracy. If religion is harmful, it should not be supported by the state, and I believe the state can be made to see this.

 

:HaHa:

 

 

And hence, a new religion is born.

 

I'll come back to this later as I'm too tired right now. For now, some food for thought, I thought science was about the natural world. Apparently it's mission has moved from that to the beacon of Light for Mankind on its road to Salvation, the Answer to Humanity's Quest for the Immortal Truth?

 

And people recoil at the challenge of those who turn science in religion?? :)

 

I'll revisit this in the morning.

 

Good morning, Antlerman. Actually, it's evening where I am. According to the time stamp, quite a few mornings have come and gone since you wrote that post but I just found it. I'd be interested to see more on the dangers of science as religion.

 

Christians have accused me of making science my religion, which I think is absurd because I know next to no science. I only use the little bit I do know to figure out what is true in religious teachings. To prove/disprove the existence of God I did apply the scientific method (cause and effect) that I discovered as a child to the biblical statements about God and that we can by those statements know he exists. I also applied it to other aspects of the biblical and religious teachings. So the scientific method has served me well throughout life well before I knew what it was called. But science itself I know little of.

 

Yet on Christian forums, I rarely find myself in a debate that requires more science than I've got, which surprises me greatly. Many Christians on internet forums work in computers, which tells me they have more aptitude for science than I do.

 

Most of the time, they are all-consumed with the argument that evolution does not require a designer, which argument I base on some DVDs an atheist friend loaned me about the origins of our universe. Usually, there is also enough fault in the logic of whatever argument they are making to get a discussion off the ground. If it regards something such as genetic code that I truly can't handle, then there's other atheists on board who are more knowledgeable and I learn from them. Sometimes I do additional internet research.

 

But before all this, while doing my MA thesis, I read Darwin's Origin of the Species for personal interest and my Christian prof assumed I was making science my religion.

 

That is the sum total of my science education and I am accused of making science my religion!?!

 

Is that just another slug Christians sling when they can't find anything else to throw at apostates, or what exactly does "science as religion" look like?

 

Maybe this should be the OP of a new thread. If so, feel free to move this post to wherever it should be (but I'd like to know where it's moved to). It just seemed like the logical next post in response to what you said in your last post.

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That is the sum total of my science education and I am accused of making science my religion!?!

 

Actually that correlates well - the most evangelical christians I know are those who have read the least of their religious texts. I enjoy surprising them with new verses.

 

And hence, a new religion is born.

 

Antlerman, you're just playing with words. I'm not opposed to people having opinions, just opposed to them having the wrong ones. If you consider teaching every child critical thinking and analytical thought from a young age to be religious indoctrination, then so be it. You can label it however you like. You can even liken my passion on this subject to religious fervor, but that does not speak to the facts of the matter.

 

The choice is between teaching children that truth comes from authority questioned by no one or from empirical study questioned by anyone. The scientific method can be brought to bear on any subject.

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What's the measure of harm and the measure of benefit? Who is making that determination?

 

Science.

 

In the absence of religion, are people less compelled to racism and violence? Are they better educated? Does having them better educated allow them to take on more functional roles in society? How much human suffering is avoided?

 

I'd be happy to cooperate with religion on these subjects. For example, in my town, I have been developing relationships with a multitude of church pastors, waiting for the day I can bring up these sorts of things. I want to gently remind them that they are largely responsible for the education of their congregation, and try and find some middle ground on certain values (which shouldn't be hard, for the most part. Most people agree that suffering is to avoided. We just disagree on how to achieve these outcomes).

 

I do not live in a theocracy. If religion is harmful, it should not be supported by the state, and I believe the state can be made to see this.

 

:HaHa:

 

 

And hence, a new religion is born.

 

I'll come back to this later as I'm too tired right now. For now, some food for thought, I thought science was about the natural world. Apparently it's mission has moved from that to the beacon of Light for Mankind on its road to Salvation, the Answer to Humanity's Quest for the Immortal Truth?

 

And people recoil at the challenge of those who turn science in religion?? :)

 

I'll revisit this in the morning.

Can methodology be dogma without myth? Science is just methodology, for example morality, science can tell me, being gay is genetic, but science can't tell me what to do with that information. Dogma+methology+myth=religion. If You have both dogma(which would create the conclusion for example, the christian ideas of homosexuality)+the various methods involved in religious ideas and discourse, you have a religion.

 

You need the dogma(to tell you how to interpret that data) and the methodology for a true religion, you can't just only have a method like in science.

 

To the studies question, check out divorces rates, that might be a place to look.

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Thanks Valk, that's a good summary of the difference between religion and science.

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That is the sum total of my science education and I am accused of making science my religion!?!

 

Is that just another slug Christians sling when they can't find anything else to throw at apostates, or what exactly does "science as religion" look like?

I always wind up in that uncomfortable place when I say that science can in fact be a religion for some, as "sounding like the Christians" who cast that in the face of the "Unbelievers". How I respond is that they take what otherwise has some potential legitimate observations on some levels, and turn it into some sort of self-supporting, self-elevating criticism of others, while they themselves not only have little to no real understanding of that criticism, but that it applies to them in spades leaps and bounds above those they try to cast it at. In other words, they co-opt it for self-serving, disingenuous ends.

 

From what you have said, I would never suggest you are using science as a religion.

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And hence, a new religion is born.

 

Antlerman, you're just playing with words.

I am? Check out the common use of the word religion I explain here under definition 8.

 

I'm not opposed to people having opinions, just opposed to them having the wrong ones.

Are you serious?? :HaHa:

 

I'm torn between responses on this one.

 

If you consider teaching every child critical thinking and analytical thought from a young age to be religious indoctrination, then so be it.

Is that what you walk away with from what I've said? Sounds like some sort of well.... I won't say.

 

You can label it however you like. You can even liken my passion on this subject to religious fervor, but that does not speak to the facts of the matter.

I actually do believe it does. Sincerely so.

 

The choice is between teaching children that truth comes from authority questioned by no one or from empirical study questioned by anyone. The scientific method can be brought to bear on any subject.

You falsely equate the scientific method with independent thought. It's for this reason, I say you have created a religious symbol out of science. Just say questioning assumptions is a positive attribute. I would agree fully with this.

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Antlerman, I reject your definitions of the word "religion". However, I think we could agree that we are not here to argue semantics, but actualities.

 

What is it that you take issue with? That I have a problem with people who hold wrong beliefs, or that I apply the term to "opinions"? I didn't think about it for too long before using the sentence you quoted, but upon reflection, I am quite comfortable with the idea of wrong opinions. A wrong opinion, in my usage, would be any opinion which is not based on facts, facts being those things which can come to be predicted by applying the scientific method. For example, the opinion that atheists are immoral could be said to be a wrong opinion.

 

Not all facts will lead different people to have the same opinion, and thus at some levels several opinions based on the same facts are valid. Prioritizing fact over fiction is itself a value judgement, and someone who prioritized differently could be said to have a right opinion despite the large amount of disagreement they will face.

 

You falsely equate the scientific method with independent thought.

 

In what sense is that false? I very much intend to imply that independent though is proportional to the strictness of the scientific method used to obtain that thought. Or perhaps independent is not the right word. One can concoct all sorts of fantasies mostly independently. Let me clarify. The more strictly the scientific method is adhered to, the more independent and factual are those conclusions that have a bearing on the real world outside of phenomenological experience. Why are we arguing about this?

 

My assertion is that any worldview derived from incontrovertible authority is worse than one derived from incontrovertible evidence. Certainly, authority DOES have a place, in commanding those creatures who do not possess the ability to receive the evidence, such as children. But as a society, we should attempt to elevate everyone to the point where they CAN receive it.

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Antlerman, I reject your definitions of the word "religion".

Really? Why? Can you be specific? I think they are pretty solid, if not incomplete. If you look at the uses of the word in discussion, you will see it in fact can be divided into these sorts of groupings. How then do you see the word used? I think it's important to at least establish that, as you set out to say "religion" this, or "religion" that in any sort of meaningful dialog. Don't you?

 

However, I think we could agree that we are not here to argue semantics, but actualities.

Indeed, which is precisely why it is of parmount importance to establish what we mean when we toss about a word like religion, especially as you seek to influence laws regarding it. Otherwise, frankly it's like tilting at windmills, some nebulous enemy in your mind. You wish to be effective, don't you?

 

What is it that you take issue with?

The non-specificity of this. It seems more a rage of one system versus another, without actually creating a dialog of reason. I myself can easily challenge why denying access to current understanding of science can in fact be directly detrimental to the child's well being, but it has nothing to do with my personal feelings about the validity of a personal system of symbols one's family employees to promote social and cultural participation. It stands alone, outside that discussion. However they can manage to process and incorporate it into their system is frankly their affair. It should however be stressed that knowledge is vital for participation in the greater world community, and that promoting a rejection of that knowledge is not beneficial to the society.

 

Bottom line, if you want to have a discussion about these things, it would really behoove you to learn exactly what they really around, in a deeper level than simply branding them nonsense and foolishness. That rhetoric in itself is nonsense and foolishness and frankly comes across that way. You wish to be effective, right?

 

That I have a problem with people who hold wrong beliefs, or that I apply the term to "opinions"? I didn't think about it for too long before using the sentence you quoted, but upon reflection, I am quite comfortable with the idea of wrong opinions.

You apparently don't realize the contradiction of this. An opinion by definition is a subjective interpretation of facts. You can have 800 different opinions of the same facts, and they remain 800 opinions. If you can establish facts - big if - then you don't have opinions anymore.

"a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty; "my opinion differs from yours"; "I am not of your persuasion"; "what are your thoughts on Haiti?"

http://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=define%3Aopinion&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGLL_enUS387US387&ie=UTF-8&aq=1&oq=

 

A wrong opinion, in my usage, would be any opinion which is not based on facts, facts being those things which can come to be predicted by applying the scientific method.

Well that wouldn't be a wrong opinion, it would be a wrong conclusion.

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For example, the opinion that atheists are immoral could be said to be a wrong opinion.

That would be an errant statement. I really wouldn't consider that as an opinion, actually. It's much more political rhetoric that lacks any valid support.

 

You should check your use of the word opinion.

 

You falsely equate the scientific method with independent thought.

 

In what sense is that false? I very much intend to imply that independent though is proportional to the strictness of the scientific method used to obtain that thought. Or perhaps independent is not the right word. One can concoct all sorts of fantasies mostly independently.

Like the theory of relativity? ;) Where was the hard evidence for that when Einstein proposed that one?

 

Let me clarify. The more strictly the scientific method is adhered to, the more independent and factual are those conclusions that have a bearing on the real world outside of phenomenological experience. Why are we arguing about this?

I guess you mean "independent" in the sense of a system of checks and balances that reduces personal biases in making statements of conclusion. I'm saying independent in the sense of stepping outside the mainstay think-tank philosophy of "what is". I'd call it "free-thought" in the strictest sense of the word. Not just falling in line to the new "what is" philosophy, the new religion if you will of the nebulous "we" who tell us how things are. The new priests. Independent means independent.

 

My assertion is that any worldview derived from incontrovertible authority is worse than one derived from incontrovertible evidence.

To some degree I do agree with this. I think to deny overwhelming evidence, such as that supporting the theory of evolution for instance, is harmful. My challenge is that we call incontrovertible a whole lot more than really is warranted, and that seems much more an act of trying to support a religious-style, if you prefer, worldview based on a large array of assumptions, which frankly have a great deal of entirely legitimate rational criticism against it.

 

Certainly, authority DOES have a place, in commanding those creatures who do not possess the ability to receive the evidence, such as children.

And my fear, and observation, is that that exact same thing applies to the more popular forms of the neo-rationalists. I see just as much closing off of the mind to anything outside their newly formed view of reality, as those who hold to previous views of reality. Children, is a word I might use as well.

 

But as a society, we should attempt to elevate everyone to the point where they CAN receive it.

Understanding how deep that rabbit hole goes is a really good place to start. I think if you hope to just switch them over to your new way of thinking, that won't be enough. That's just one belief system for another. Again, you want to communicate, you need to first understand.

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