Thursday, May 31, 2012

What are the Gnus doing to atheism, and to theist-atheist discouse? Some comments for Jeff Lowder

Jeff: I think the New Atheists are doing things which are a fundamental betrayal of the basic rules which must underlie all discourse concerning matters so serious as religion. It affects people like John Loftus, who has some interesting ideas, but invariably ruins the possibility of serious discourse with him by propagandistic tactics. A kind of atheist fanaticism is brewing, which makes undermines the very process which makes atheist-theist dialogue at all rewarding.

Take this comment from Matt earlier in this thread:

(1) Did Dawkins ever say that ridicule and mocking were a valid substitute for reasoned discourse? No, of course not. We both know that there are people on both sides of the fence who are beyond the discourse of reason. Sometimes, people need to be shock-and-awed from their position by satire, ridicule, and mockery.

No, no, no, no, no, heavens no. This is a poison pill that is going to effectively wipe out serious and interesting exchange on religious subjects. It means that I can try to persuade you to believe as I do, and since my arguments are sooooo good, if you don't buy them, then we have to use ridicule tactics on you. Defenders of each side have to do their best to make their case, it may persuade some, but not everyone, but that's what argumentation is for. As Lewis says, argument has a life of its own, you follow the argument where it leads; there are aspects of the belief decision process that we may not be able to put on the table, and so we do our best and leave it at that. If we are Christians, we leave the rest in the hands of the Holy Spirit. If we engage in rational discourse concerning these matters of profound significance existentially, we make a commitment to the process of following the argument where it leads.

It is, for example, very easy to come up with a description of evolution that makes it look stupid. I've heard it a million times. If I do that, and then let out a horse laugh, have I made an argument against evolution? Of course not. Distinguishing real absurdity from the appearance of absurdity generated by a tendentious description is part of what we need to do to learn how to think. Dawkins and those that follow him are so opposed to religion that getting peopel to reject religion is more important than being faithful to the process of rational discourse. The end justifies the means, even if that means isn't really a rational process at all. Some of his statements make him sound like a schoolyard bully who will do anything to get what he wants, in this case, to turn people into atheists.

This seems to me to be caused by hatred. I understand the frustration he has experienced as an evolutionary biologist, (I've been told that all evolutionary biologists get a lot of hate mail from Christians), but that doesn't make his tactics acceptable.

Not only that, but when he calls raising a child in a religion child abuse and compares it to sexual abuse, he is implying that the government should have the right to interfere with this process, as the government does interfere when there is sexual abuse. This is something that undermines something that previous atheists have attempted to defend, and that is the separation of church and state.

I noticed that some people at SO, some of whom I respect greatly, think the quality of my blog has gone down of late. If so, I suspect it is because I have been reacting to this poisoned intellectual atmosphere, and have probably not found very constructive ways of doing so.

C. S. Lewis did a lot of things in his life, including Medieval and Renaissance scholarship (his "day job, as it were), children's literature, science fiction, devotional writing, and, of course Christian apologetics. But I wonder if one achievement is insufficiently noted, and that is his presiding over the Oxford Socratic Club. This activity resulted in the Anscombe critique of his AFR, and actually launched the career of Antony Flew as an atheist philosopher. But his effort to sustain an open environment where these issues can be discussed is, in my view, maybe  one of his greatest achievements. I recommend reading the essay he wrote about the founding of the club.

261 comments:

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rank sophist said...

Despite their screams for Reason-with-a-capital-R, Gnus are misologists. Alongside the fundamentalists, they've done irreparable damage to the debate at large--particularly in the US and UK. All one has to do is look at a CIF Belief comments section to see what's happened. It's a legion of zombies, armed with anti-logical cry of "Courtier's Reply!" They drown out everyone else, theist or not.

People like Dawkins and Hitchens are to blame for this. They've brainwashed a generation. I feel sorry for a lot of them--like fundamentalist kids, they just don't know any better. Misology is all they're familiar with, and they can't (or don't want to) imagine anything else.

rank sophist said...

Apologies: "armed with the anti-logical cry".

Karl Grant said...

Rank Sophist,

Despite their screams for Reason-with-a-capital-R, Gnus are misologists.

Yep. I have also noticed over the years that the vast majority of them have no sense of irony. Go figure.

HyperEntity111 said...

It's unclear to me why so many atheists are unwilling to accept Victor's main point. It is a simple fact that the attitude taken by the New Atheists towards the religious person is no different from that taken by racists towards people of colour. Not all racists are violent people-many are perfectly willing to limit their hatred to verbal abuse. Similarly most atheist bigots are not violent. It is true that countries where atheistic ideologies like Communism prevailed (such as Soviet Russia) saw that millions of humans were butchered because of their religious beliefs. But it is also true that although a certain breed of atheist will agree with Pol Pot that “Monks are tapeworms gnawing at the bowels of society” and that “Joining hands to greet monks is like joining hands to greet the country children” they might still feel a little queasy that over 40% of Cambodia's Catholic population vanished under Pot's rule. In this respect they are no different from the ordinary racist who believes that blacks are social parasites and that educated black thinkers are like children but also becomes slightly uncomfortable at the sight of a KKK lynching.

Here we have a group of people who advocate treating people who do not share their beliefs with contempt. They believe that raising your child in your religion is worse than paedophilia (Dawkins) and that converting the planet's population to atheism is preferable to the elimination of rape because religion is worse than rape (Harris). It follows from this that a very large section of the planet's population are worse than rapists and paedophiles. They believe that young people should be denied access to university if they do not believe in evolution (Dawkins). Since Dawkins also believes that the truth of atheism is even more self evident than the truth of evolution it would not be surprising if he also believed that the only people entitled to receive higher education are atheists.

Further more they espouse a strange form of dogmatic fanaticism where it is demanded that religious people subject their beliefs to rigorous analysis but it is held that atheists have no such obligation because it is unnecessary to examine the arguments for religion in order to dismiss it (Dawkins & Myers). Displays of certainty from the religious (statements like "It's obvious that God exists") are regarded as deplorable and a sign of arrogance but displays of certainty from atheists is seen as deeply praiseworthy. Those who do not subscribe to this epistemology are held to be not merely wrong but mentally ill-billions are held to be inferior to you because they are suffering from delusions caused by a failure to subscribe to this curious worldview

HyperEntity111 said...

It is quite easy to see where such beliefs can lead to if taken seriously. It is therefore disingenuous to pretend that comparisons between the New Atheists and racist groups is unfair because the former have not yet resorted to mass murder to achieve their goals. Such an argument is no more respectable than claiming that a person who thinks that blacks are inferior to himself cannot be a racist unless he shoots black people in the street. The difference between such a person and the KKK is a difference in degree. Similarly, the only difference between Pol Pot's view of religious people and Richard Dawkins' view is that the latter has not yet called for mass murder as a technique to eliminate what they both perceive to be mentally diseased people with a parasitic effect on society.

It should be clear to rational observers that such beliefs are appalling whether they are driven by hatred for your skin colour, sexual orientation or religious belief (or lack of belief). If someone were to declare that all the world's atheists were mentally ill individuals who were worse than rapists and paedophiles we would rightly accuse that person of bigotry. It is therefore amazing to me that when such statements are made about religious people we find atheists defending them or resorting to the sophistical tu quoque 'reasoning' we've seen from Papa in the other thread.

Mike Darus said...

Both in blogs and in politics the new norm for public debate is ridicule. It starts with misrepresentation of the opposing viewpoint and degenerates to personal attacks. For some, it appears to be convincing. It makes me change the channel or stop reading.

cl said...

HyperEntity111,

"It's unclear to me why so many atheists are unwilling to accept Victor's main point."

From my experiences, I've concluded it's because so many atheists are former fundamentalist believers. They never shed their fundamentalism. They just think washing it in "reason" and dawning a scarlet A will remove the underlying cognitive biases. In our other threads, the most vocal atheist, Matt DeStefano, fits this bill. I apologize if people get sick of me posting this snippet from my own blog, but here it is again, not because I'm into self-promotion but because I think it's directly relevant to this phenomenon and the last few discussions on Victor's blog:

…I think deconverted fundamentalists and evangelicals tend to make the most dangerous atheists. Often, the mental weaknesses that led them to dogmatic ways of thinking in the first place persist. These traits then carry over into their newly-embraced “skepticism,” the weaknesses again take the helm, yet, this time, they are actually far worse off because a thin veneer of rationalism masks their dogmatic and irrational tendencies and puffs many up with a false sense of confidence. Consequently, many mistakenly believe that their change of psychological allegiance solved the problem. They’re often less likely to see it, because they still have that “in the tribe” mentality, only now, they fancy themselves in the right tribe. I cannot overemphasize the threat this phenomenon poses to critical thinking and pursuit of truth. Trading one’s cross for a scarlet A accomplishes nothing unless the old habits are shed.

Mike Darus said...

cl:
Are you being dogmatic in your criticism of dogmatism?

cl said...

Mike Darus,

I don't think so. Do you? If so, why?

B. Prokop said...

Back in the mid-to-late 60's (showing my age here), there used to be a show on TV called The Alan Burke Show. He was an early prototype of today's Faux News talk show hosts Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly. I remember him touting "Burke's Law", which said that converts make the greatest fanatics, and that it didn't matter what they had been converted to. But I suspect that CL is on to something in calling out unique problems when it comes to fundamentalists.

I believe he is dead right in that there are identifiable mental traits associated with that manner of thinking which transcend what it is one is being fundamentalist about. Depressingly, it seems "once a fundamentalist, always a fundamentalist". (I hope I'm wrong, but I haven't seen any evidence that I am.) So Loftus and Papalinton (for example) were once unquestioning fundamentalist Christians, and they are now unquestioning fundamentalist atheists.

Karl Grant said...

B. Prokop,

I believe he is dead right in that there are identifiable mental traits associated with that manner of thinking which transcend what it is one is being fundamentalist about. Depressingly, it seems "once a fundamentalist, always a fundamentalist".

Not surprising, is it? Just because a person changes an opnion or a belief doesn't mean their character has changed one bit.

Matt DeStefano said...

No, no, no, no, no, heavens no. This is a poison pill that is going to effectively wipe out serious and interesting exchange on religious subjects.

I didn't realize you were such an alarmist, Victor (although the KKK, Nazi, and genocidal dictator comparisons hinted towards it).

Has Stewart's Daily Show been the "poison pill" for political discourse of our modern era? Has the Book of Mormon Broadway play been the "poison pill" of serious religious discussion? Was Swift's "A Modest Proposal" the "poison pill" of serious ethical discourse? Did the political ads of the 1800t stop our forefathers from serious debates over political ideology?

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

http://secularoutpost.infidels.org/2012/06/theist-atheist-discourse-some-thoughts.html

cl said...

B. Prokop,

"So Loftus and Papalinton (for example) were once unquestioning fundamentalist Christians, and they are now unquestioning fundamentalist atheists."

Thing is, they would confront this by saying something like, "Whaddya mean we're unquestioning atheists? It was questioning that got us to where we are today," yada yada yada. Okay, sure, we can grant that... but that isn't the point. The point is that the questioning stopped the day they walked away from God. There's no need to question anymore, because they already questioned, and now they have the *RIGHT* answer. It's the same sort of delusional certainty, just on the other side of the fence. In my opinion, genuine critical thinkers, like scientists, should never stop questioning.

Further evidence can be found in their reactions. Before he banned me from his blog, I remember, on multiple occasions, asking John if he was at all skeptical of *ANY* of his newfound beliefs. For example, I particularly badgered him about the apparent discrepancy between claiming, "We should all ask for positive evidence for that which we accept as true," then turning around and claiming we should reject the Bible because, "[science] has also shown us there was no Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt." Well, how does that work? Loftus directly contradicts himself there. Where is John's positive evidence for what he believes? He gives us a *PERFECT* analog to God of the Gaps, only, it's Atheism of the Gaps. At least one of those statements needs emendation if John is to be at all taken seriously.

His replies?

"How old are you CL? I’d guess you have not yet experienced much life. I’d say you were under the age of 21, too young to be here. I don’t give a damn what you think of me of my deconversion at all. You’re too stupid to realize that regardless of it you must deal with the arguments in the book. [...] I’m seriously considering banning you cl, as I’ve heard you were banned on other sites. You are much too ignorant for us to have a reasonable discussion."

See that? Pure fundy, unashamed, bleeding through. Question Loftus, and he'll attack, attack, attack. Tell me that isn't the telltale sign of a mind plagued with cognitive dissonance, a mind confronted with the realization that they've been backed into an intellectual corner through parameters of their own making.

Ah, I see that DeStefano showed up, still succumbing to the knee-jerk reaction to criticize and tell us we're wrong, but without actually making any substantial arguments. Speaking of fundy traits, what do y'all think of those who equate disagreement with dishonesty? I have no respect for that trait, whatsoever.

Christian fundy: "We disagree with evolution... scientists are just dishonest conspirators trying to overthrow the word of God!"

Matt DeStefano: "I disagree with Victor and cl on the 'reason' rally. They're dishonest!"

Anyways, I gotta run. Have fun duking it out, happy Friday.

SOURCES:
Loftus, Listing of Cognitive Biases
Loftus, Top Seven Ways Christianity is Debunked By the Sciences
cl, Why You Should Be Skeptical of John W. Loftus

Karl Grant said...

Matt,

Has Stewart's Daily Show been the "poison pill" for political discourse of our modern era? Has the Book of Mormon Broadway play been the "poison pill" of serious religious discussion?

I remember asking you how many people Stewart has actually gotten to reconsider their beliefs. Never did receive an answer. And we are still waiting on that list of differences between the Reason Rally and that of any other hate group.

Walter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rank sophist said...

Hyper,

Those were fantastic posts above. You nailed what we've all been trying to say.

Matt,

I'm taking you less and less seriously. You're resorting to damage control, pure and simple. In what way is Dawkins's abuse comparable to comedy? Comedy takes shots at everyone--it's expected, and, in many cases, it's good-natured. South Park (which is not good-natured, but which you used as an example) attacks religion, yes; but it's also attacked Dawkins. Comedy, in most cases, takes no prisoners from any side. Dawkins, on the other hand, is spreading hate for one specific group of people. His statements echo those by Mao, Marx and (as Hyper showed) even Pol Pot. By comparing him to comedians, you've begged the question. You're going to have to demonstrate that Dawkins is comparable before you simply assert it.

Tony Hoffman said...

VR: "It is, for example, very easy to come up with a description of evolution that makes it look stupid. I've heard it a million times."

You miss the point, then. The only way to make evolutionary theory look stupid is to state it in a way that shows you do not understand it. Attempts at doing this actually make the ridiculer look stupid, and leaves evolutionary theory untouched.

What Dawkins et al. are saying is that ridicule IS WARRANTED when it seems impossible to state a proper understanding of the belief that does not seem ridiculous. The brighter the light, the greater the relief. To be shy about observing this is to be a kind of intellectual coward. Grow up, and move on, does not seem like that harsh a reprimand.

Evolution become more interesting and profound the further it is examined. Transubstantiation seems more and more ridiculous. Who's fault is that supposed to be, because I don't think you can pin that one on Dawkins et al.

B. Prokop said...

Tony,

Really? Please tell me how it looks more and more ridiculous?

Your comment leads me to believe you have never once attempted to "examine it further" in any serious manner.

Victor Reppert said...

Seems ridiculous to whom? We have a saying in philosophy: One man's modus ponens is another man's reductio ad absurdum. What is "absurd" or obviously absurd differs from person to person. The fact that someone else is horselaughing about something you believe to be true is not a reason at all to abandon the belief. Showing something to be self-contradictory, that's a reductio. Showing something to be contrary to established facts? That's a reductio. Showing that something seems ridiculous to some educated person? That says something about someone's intellectual makeup and nothing about the likelihood that it is true.

Tony Hoffman said...

VR: "What is "absurd" or obviously absurd differs from person to person. The fact that someone else is horselaughing about something you believe to be true is not a reason at all to abandon the belief."

Agreed.

But evolutionary theory starts out seeming absurd (to most, I imagine), but the evidence compels us to accept it. Transubstantiation starts out seeming absurd, and no evidence compels us to accept it. There's a huge chasm between these two sets of beliefs that you seem to not acknowledge, and that charity demands you accept in Dawkins statements.

B. Prokop said...

If Tony is really serious about "examining further" the doctrine of transubstantiation, and not just wave it off and say he did, he would pick up a copy of Brant Pitre's Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, or some such similar book.

Too many people mistake arbitrarily dismissing something as "examination".

Tony, you want evidence that might "compel" you to accept the Doctrine of Transubstantiation? Excellent! Good for you!! Now go out and actually look at some.

Tony Hoffman said...

BobP: "Your comment leads me to believe you have never once attempted to "examine it further" in any serious manner."

Pure bluster. But please, prove me wrong, and provide the evidence for transubstantiation.

Don Jindra said...

HyperEntity111,

"Here we have a group of people who advocate treating people who do not share their beliefs with contempt."

All I can do is speak for myself. I have no contempt for religious people. Some of my best friends over the years have been religious people. My own parents are religious to a degree.

I do have contempt for bad ideas. I have contempt for Marxist ideas or solipsism, for example. But in that contempt I'm no different than the religious folks who have contempt for sin or atheism, or the conservative's contempt for liberalism. If the Christian can love the sinner but hate the sin I can love the theist but hate the theology.

rank sophist said...

Evolution become more interesting and profound the further it is examined. Transubstantiation seems more and more ridiculous.

Says who?

What Dawkins et al. are saying is that ridicule IS WARRANTED when it seems impossible to state a proper understanding of the belief that does not seem ridiculous.

Define "ridiculous". Define "proper understanding".

Also, that isn't what Dawkins and his cronies are doing. To quote Hyper above:

They believe that raising your child in your religion is worse than paedophilia (Dawkins) and that converting the planet's population to atheism is preferable to the elimination of rape because religion is worse than rape (Harris). It follows from this that a very large section of the planet's population are worse than rapists and paedophiles. They believe that young people should be denied access to university if they do not believe in evolution (Dawkins).

They are emulating Mao, Lenin, Marx and Pol Pot in all but deed.

But evolutionary theory starts out seeming absurd (to most, I imagine), but the evidence compels us to accept it. Transubstantiation starts out seeming absurd, and no evidence compels us to accept it. There's a huge chasm between these two sets of beliefs that you seem to not acknowledge, and that charity demands you accept in Dawkins statements.

Says who?

Tony, you're just making bald assertions. Why should anyone pay attention? Why is anyone obligated to answer you?

cl said...

Tony Hoffman,

Ah... gotta love that scientism. Talk about a belief worth ridicule! You haven't grown an inch intellectually since our days at CSA.

Kinda proves Vic's point eh?

cl said...

rank sophist,

"Evolution become more interesting and profound the further it is examined. Transubstantiation seems more and more ridiculous.

Says who?"


Duh! Tony Hoffman, and the rest of the oh-so-original atheists who think just like him. You see, we're supposed to assent to their intellectual superiority because we's jus sum dum theisssts... yuck yuck

Lance Bush said...

Hello; I just discovered this blog and this is my first post. There is one point I want to disagree with. In the original post, it is suggested that the notion that raising children to be religious is child abuse would violate separation of church and state. I do not believe that, if this is the case, that it is obvious. There's an argument which needs to be made here.

Freedom of religion, if it is to be a legitimate, ought to entail that an individual is free to maintain whichever beliefs they wish, and engage in whatever activities they wish, provided those activities don't conflict with laws devised for entirely secular purposes.

When it comes to the issue of raising a child to be religious, it is not obvious to me how this falls within the scope of an exercise of one's freedom of religion. Freedom of religion applies to yourself, not to other people. The last time I checked, children were other people. This is actually a matter of a conflict between religious liberty of parents and the religious liberty of children, as well as other rights children may possess.

If there were valid secular reasons for the state to prohibit methods of child rearing which were detrimental to children, and if the passing of such laws were not unduly invasive or otherwise objectionable (and they may in fact be), then the state would have an interest, even an obligation, to do so. If a person sought to prohibit their child from ever socializing with other children, or they sought to deliberately require that their child remain illiterate and uneducated, as part of some bizarre religious cult, then it would seem that the parent, in exercising their religious liberty, is exercising it in a way that is unambiguously detrimental to the child, and I would be willing to argue that the child's rights trump the parent's supposed "freedom" to raise the child as they wish. Under these circumstances, it would be legitimate for the state to prohibit a parent from crippling their child socially or educationally due to their religious beliefs.

So, I'd like to suggest a few things here. First, children are not property. Parents are not entitled to freedoms over children they are raising, but rather responsibilities to them.

Second, religious instruction in forms that deliberately foist upon children untrammeled certainty in the doctrine of their parents retards the development of critical thinking, and, religious communities with narrow religious views place strong peer pressure on children to conform to the religious perspective of their parents and peers, deliberately narrow their education in ways which inhibits their access to alternative points of view, and in other ways leads to children developing with an ignorance of and psychological and emotional inertia against learning about and developing religious views of their own. In short, allowing parents to teach children religion can and does to some extent deny the child's freedom of religion.

In short, this argument can cut both ways. It is claimed here that it violates separation of church and state to prohibit parents from teaching their children religion. I submit that a counter argument can be asserted that to NOT prohibit parents from doing so violates the child's freedom of religion.

Crude said...

Victor,

I noticed that some people at SO, some of whom I respect greatly, think the quality of my blog has gone down of late. If so, I suspect it is because I have been reacting to this poisoned intellectual atmosphere, and have probably not found very constructive ways of doing so.

Of course you've found a constructive way: you've noted the behavior of the Cult of Gnu, and you've plainly noted the obvious about it, both calling attention to it and making the Cult look deservedly bad in the process. That's the real problem here, and it doesn't matter that you're right. The criticism hits home, so damnit, some guys are going to fuss and cry and call foul and demand you and others stop saying it.

I wouldn't take the fact that skeptics you respect are up in arms over this, because honestly, a number of them love to play the good cop to the cultist bad cop. To throw more oil on this fire, it's like the upper class bigot who may distance himself publicly from the hick klansmen and conduct himself far more civilly in public - but hey, if said hicks happen to actually get those damn coloreds out of their neighborhood, well... call a victory a victory, eh?

Regarding transubstantiation and evolution, I think Victor's comment nailed it (responding 'no that doesn't work unless you get me personally to admit it's not ridiculous' is a rube move), and would further add: quite a lot of the cultists don't give a damn or have much interest in evolution anyway. You can watch Jerry Coyne lament on his own blog about how, when he makes a religion-bashing-free science post, the interest and comments drop off.

For all the talk about how great science is, quite a lot of the Cultists of Gnu aren't interested in it. And no, following the X-men comic book lines religiously does not count as regularly reading about trends in evolutionary theory.

Crude said...

I submit that a counter argument can be asserted that to NOT prohibit parents from doing so violates the child's freedom of religion.

Sure. It's a monumentally stupid argument, but an argument nonetheless.

Lance Bush said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance Bush said...

Crude, what is "monumentally stupid" about it?

I see hysterical comparisons to the notion that raising a child to be religious may be more harmful than pedophilia to fascist dictators - I wouldn't call that monumentally stupid, but I would call it a bit ridiculous, and well worth challenging. Suggesting that raising children with a religion might be child abuse simply is not the same thing as endorsing coercive eugenics, genocide, and global domination. Such silly comparisons have little place here.

Also, it isn't obvious to me that it child indoctrination and child molestation are necessarily incomparably harmful, for two reasons. However "obvious" it may seem to you, you should be willing to entertain arguments to the contrary.

First, people overestimate the harm of child sexual abuse. As is argued in 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, conventional notions of how much children are harmed by it tend to vastly overestimate it. As a disclaimer, this is *not at all* a dismissal of how bad it really is, and it is definitely and obviously always unacceptable, so before anyone goes berserk over that comment, don't distort into suggesting something other than it does.

Second, I see almost no critical engagement with the notion that a parent doesn't own their child, that a parent doesn't possess some sort of magical rights over their children which don't need to be argued for, and that it is uncontestably the case that a parent may raise their child to believe whatever the parent wishes. Should it be legal for a parent to raise their child to be a KKK member? Or a neo-Nazi? I hear many people say "yes" to this, and I have to wonder why, exactly, they think preserving a parental right of this kind is good for, and why a case couldn't be made more convincingly for the child's rights being subverted.

Now, many religious systems teach what a new atheist would regard as bigotry, ignorance, and falsehood - not as bad as Nazism or KKK ideology, but it would fall into the same camp of detrimental rubbish. If it is wrong to teach a child detrimental rubbish and bigotry, and if a parent doesn't have special rights over a child, and if religious freedom doesn't extend to how one treats a child they are raising (because religious liberty applies to you, not other people, and children are people), then I must assert that the argument is one you ought to contend with, rather than dismissing as "monumentally stupid" without so much as a persuasive word of rebuttal against it.

That being said, if pedophilia is less harmful than people suppose, and religious instruction is more harmful than people suppose, than the gap between them shortens, and I would argue that religious instruction at least sometimes eclipses the former.

Crude said...

Crude, what is "monumentally stupid" about it?

Try 'everything'.

Wretched reasoning, using 'data' you pulled out of your ass as a result of getting imaginative while reading, in part, a psychology book written for a popular audience. Here's something you can do for a followup act: read some Deepak Chopra writing about quantum physics and holistic medicine, and use that as a takeoff point for how the National Institute of Health should be run.

Look for someone else to take you seriously - it's being generous to call your "argument" monumentally stupid and leave it at that. I will give you a bit of advice: you probably shouldn't deride one right as "magical" just because you don't like how some may exercise it, and follow it up with a claim that another "right" is more sacred just because you like what you think the result will be more. But if someday someone should use this crap argument of yours to take your or a friend's/family members kids away, on the grounds that they think atheism rather than religion is rightly regarded as a virus of the mind, well, call it a learning experience.

rank sophist said...

First, people overestimate the harm of child sexual abuse.

Dawkins appears to have eaten part of your brain.

When it comes to the issue of raising a child to be religious, it is not obvious to me how this falls within the scope of an exercise of one's freedom of religion. Freedom of religion applies to yourself, not to other people. The last time I checked, children were other people. This is actually a matter of a conflict between religious liberty of parents and the religious liberty of children, as well as other rights children may possess.

Legally, atheism is considered a religion in the US. Following your argument through, this means that raising a child as an atheist, at least from a legal standpoint, violates their freedom of religion.

If there were valid secular reasons for the state to prohibit methods of child rearing which were detrimental to children, and if the passing of such laws were not unduly invasive or otherwise objectionable (and they may in fact be), then the state would have an interest, even an obligation, to do so.

"Valid reasons", "detrimental", "unduly invasive" and "otherwise objectionable" are words and phrases that have created totalitarian dictators.

Second, religious instruction in forms that deliberately foist upon children untrammeled certainty in the doctrine of their parents retards the development of critical thinking,

Says who? And, even if it did, how do you define "critical thinking"?

and, religious communities with narrow religious views place strong peer pressure on children to conform to the religious perspective of their parents and peers, deliberately narrow their education in ways which inhibits their access to alternative points of view,

So, if an atheist community that despised religion placed peer pressure on children to conform, and they never allowed them access to religious views, then the government should intervene?

Do you realize that the programs you're suggesting are almost identical to those of Soviet Russia?

and in other ways leads to children developing with an ignorance of and psychological and emotional inertia against learning about and developing religious views of their own.

Same with raising children as atheists.

Now, many religious systems teach what a new atheist would regard as bigotry, ignorance, and falsehood - not as bad as Nazism or KKK ideology, but it would fall into the same camp of detrimental rubbish.

Mao: "But of course, religion is poison. It has two great defects: It undermines the race, and secondly it retards the progress of the country."

Marx: "Religion [...] is the opium of the people."

Lenin: "All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are [...] used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class."

And, courtesy of Hyper, Pol Pot: "Joining hands to greet monks is like joining hands to greet the country children."

So religion teaches ignorance and falsehood, huh? And parents should be banned from teaching ignorance and falsehood to their children? Well, you might want to check a history book before you embark on your crusade.

B. Prokop said...

Lance,

Your "argument" fails to consider just how totalitarian such a state would have to be for it to intervene in how parents raise their children. Just how do you propose to enforce such a law? Are you going to have state inspectors combing through everyone's private residences? ("Take down that religious image off the wall! We can't have your child growing up seeing such stuff!") Are parents going to have to self-sensor themselves for fear of being reported to the Thought Police? (Please, read up on Pavlik Morozov and the cult of informing on one's family in the USSR.) Are you going to ban The Chronicles of Narnia from bookstores? How about when a family goes to church on Sundays? ("No children allowed at the church picnics!")

Like it or not, that's exactly what you're advocating.

Karl Grant said...

Lance,

First, people overestimate the harm of child sexual abuse.

That's a joke right? Please tell me you are not going to try and defend Dawkins by saying well, being raped as a child ain't that bad!

I hear many people say "yes" to this, and I have to wonder why, exactly, they think preserving a parental right of this kind is good for, and why a case couldn't be made more convincingly for the child's rights being subverted.

And what's the alternative? Forcibly place the child in a state-run orphanage? Mandate by law the parents should tell their children? What should be the penalty for breaking that law, shall we settle for a fine or imprisonment (because laws don't get obeyed unless you enforce them)?

Lance Bush said...

Hi Crude. Thanks for the reply. This is part 1 of my response.

Calling something wretched isn’t a rebuttal. I’m going to articulate my arguments a little more clearly. Since you are arguing that my reasoning is “wretched”, I will endeavor to make it as clear as possible so its wretchedness will be easy to spot and you can easily refute it. Here’s my principle argument:

1. Children have a right to freedom of religion.
2. Violating a child’s right to freedom of religion is wrong.
3. Forcing a child to profess religious beliefs or participate in religious activities violates their religious freedom.
4. Therefore, forcing a child to profess religious beliefs or participate in religious is wrong.

I think this does apply to real world scenarios:

1. Some parents in the United States force their children to profess religious beliefs and participate in religious activities
2. This violates their freedom of religion & it is wrong.

My first argument is pretty straightforward. It is a counterpoint to the original post’s rejection of childhood religious instruction as a form of child abuse on the grounds that it would violate a parent’s freedom of religion for the state to prohibit such instruction. Yet what the author fails to note, and what people here seem to fail to appreciate, is that to the extent that rights pertain, these rights also apply to children, and a parent teaching a child a particular religion, in some circumstances, violates that child’s right to religious freedom.

Even if parents have a right to religious freedom, it isn’t obvious that this extends to how they treat children that they are raising, and it isn’t obvious how a parent’s right to religious freedom trumps a child’s right to religious freedom.

[using 'data' you pulled out of your ass as a result of getting imaginative while reading, in part, a psychology book written for a popular audience.]

The book is a quick and easy reference to look up. Furthermore, merely because the data is discussed in a book written for a popular audience doesn’t render it false, doesn’t mean I got “imaginative” while reading, and definitely doesn’t mean I pulled it “out of my ass”. The conclusions in the book are based on real data, which you can look at yourself. Here’s one citation provided in the book:

Ulrich, H., Randolph, M., & Acheson, S. (2006). Child sexual abuse: Replication of the meta-analytic examination of child sexual abuse by Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman (1998). Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice 4(2), 37-51.

The data is pretty solid, actually. To put it simply, I'm asserting that the data I've referred to is correct. In the past decade, further research has only corroborated their findings, and I am happy to post those citations as well, and explain their findings if you like (and yes, I did read them). Do you have any substantive objections to the conclusions or not? If not, then your dismissal seems unwarranted.

BenYachov said...

@Tony Hoffman

>Pure bluster. But please, prove me wrong, and provide the evidence for transubstantiation.

We don't believe in it based on "evidence" we believe in it based on authority.

If you can show me given the metaphysics of Aristotle why something can't have a different substance inconsistent with it's perceived accidents/properties I would like to hear it.

Also if you can show either "God does not exist" or "Jesus didn't rise from the dead" or go the Protestant rout "Jesus didn't found the Catholic Church" then I must doubt Transubstantiation.

Catholics don't claim to know the Real Presence to be true by empirical analysis.

Clowns like you and Dawkins are just to intellectually incompetent to learn any philosophy to challenge any of the above routs I gave you. So you attack tangent straw men.

I have no respect for this level of stupidity.

Lance Bush said...

Hi Karl Grant,

[That's a joke right? Please tell me you are not going to try and defend Dawkins by saying well, being raped as a child ain't that bad!]

I am going to defend Dawkins in a manner of speaking, yes.

Surprisingly, no, it is not a joke. Also, I suspect many will react to my position here with total hysteria or dismiss me, as they did during the Rind controversy, but data > your and my feelings feelings.

It seems intuitively obvious, and I was surprised as anyone, but data trumps what our feelings tell us must be true. I provided a citation to Crude above; here it is again:

Ulrich, H., Randolph, M., & Acheson, S. (2006). Child sexual abuse: Replication of the meta-analytic examination of child sexual abuse by Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman (1998). Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice 4(2), 37-51.

Hopefully you have access to the article; I do, and would be happy to help you out with looking at the data if you want to. I can also provide further citations which corroborate and support the data.

What the data does show is that children are pretty psychologically resilient (data by Bonanno and others supports this.) As disgusting and awful childhood sexual abuse is, many, if not most children recover for the most part and go on to live happy lives as adults. As I said initially with a disclaimer, this doesn’t make abuse of children acceptable at all – I not only favor as harsh of penalties as anyone else here for such atrocities, but probably harsher ones. Just because people are able to overcome suffering doesn’t mean that the suffering is permissible.

At any rate, this is a rabbit trail that is rather tangential to the main argument I'm making here. What I would appreciate is for people to not flip out merely because I am citing claims supported by psychological research simply because they find those findings emotionally and intuitively objectionable. If you have objections, object to the data, not to my claims. If you can show me why the data is flawed or inconclusive, I would change my position. Let us not replace emotions with reason.

Papalinton said...

Victor
Jeff: I think the New Atheists are doing things which are a fundamental betrayal of the basic rules which must underlie all discourse concerning matters so serious as religion.

Betrayal? What basic rules? Religion a serious business?
No Victor. There is no betrayal. The form of discourse has since evolved. No longer is submissive deference, cowering acquiescence, blind obedience, moral surrender, cringing complaisance, and obeisance, now regarded as appropriate social protocols for dealing with religious hegemony and unearned and unwarranted respect. The confluence of many significant areas of investigation be they science, history, anthropology, sociology the neuro-sciences, etc etc, is clearly substantiating and corroborating that religion represents but a very limited perspective and deeply flawed narrative of the human condition. A far wider and broader quantum of knowledge, information, experience and understanding is required to respond effectively to questions of human advancement and survival. One of the more significant influences in contemporary society is the flowering of atheism. Atheism seeks to offer a more balanced and objective approach to the big existential issues in today's society. It is a response to redressing, a counterbalance if you will, of the prodigious and uncontrolled excesses of theism accreted over many centuries. The advent of atheism has contributed significantly to the debate in helping define the paths humanity should tread into the future in meeting new and complex challenges head on. Importantly, the strength of atheism deprives superstition of its stand ground, and compels Theism, in our case christian theism, to reason for its existence. And that is a good thing. Those aspects of religion worthy of retaining will be retained. That which is claptrap will be ditched. And we see much evidence of that today. Since the Enlightenment, and for good reason it was termed that, the metastatic influence of religion has shrunk, and is now largely in remission; in the West at least.

Once theists tire of the bluster, bumptiousness and hyperbole, a reasoned debate will ensue. As one knows about group dynamics, a process occurs; first the Storming, then the Norming, Forming, Performing and finally the Mourning [the period after which new friendships and relationships have been established, people are reluctant to part from the group.] The current state of the theism/atheism debate is at the Storming stage, and is where we are at now, in which invective, disruption, name-calling, criticism, and confusion, aggression, hen-pecking are some of the principal features of the discourse.

And just as you say, "One man's modus ponens is another man's reductio ad absurdum." One man's religion is another man's fairy tale.

BenYachov said...

@Lance,

Let's deal with the Elephant in the room with you. You believe in the following implicit dogma.

No religion can claim to be the ultimate truth & it is always wrong to teach any religion is the ultimate truth especially children.

The problem is you are advocating forcing the above dogma on the rest of us Theist and Atheist alike.

The only reasonable view is Natural Law. Atheists may teach their children Atheism, other religions may teach their children their religion and those of us who belong to the True Religion(Catholicism) may teach our children the truth.

We Catholics are mature enough to practice practical tolerance. We know nobody should be forced to accept the truth and they may naturally impart the what they believe to be true to their children since they are the guardians of them by nature.

Even Atheist can apply this after all you all believe Atheism is the self evident truth but not everyone accepts the truth or can do so. But violating conscious is worst then tolerating parents teaching metaphysical error.

Oh and BTW Lance. Stay the fuck away from my kids. The Atheism you preach I don't much mind(thought my wife is less tolerant than I).

But the double standard of forcing your unstated dogma of "no teaching dogma" on them is irrational. As is your anti-civil libertarian PC leftist fascism.

God forbid any of my children should when they grow up choose to be Atheists. But if that happens I want them to be rational not irrational like you.

BenYachov said...

@Lance

Just because Kids are resilient in that they can overcome a lot of trauma doesn't make sex abuse not as bad as teaching your kids to be either Theist or Atheist.

You sir are not rational.

You are objectively a nut!

Lance Bush said...

Hi rank sophist.

[Dawkins appears to have eaten part of your brain.]

On the contrary, the data I pulled for this came from material unrelated to Dawkins. I’ve provided citations to two people already, and will repost them for you, explain how I interpret the findings (which is to simply affirm what the authors interpretations are), and otherwise defend my position on this as the one most supported by the scientific evidence to date. You’re welcome to hold a position contrary to the data, or, if you have access to scientific data I’m unaware of which trumps what I’ve presented here, I will be happy to hear it. I am not emotionally invested in a position which I frankly concede seems rather weird – I just tend to support views corroborated by evidence.

[Legally, atheism is considered a religion in the US. Following your argument through, this means that raising a child as an atheist, at least from a legal standpoint, violates their freedom of religion.]

That may be so, but since I more or less agree with that, it doesn’t count as a mark against my position. If a parent raises their child to be religious in a manner that violates their religious freedom, then that is wrong. It would also be wrong for a parent to indoctrinate their child in any ideology which did not include a belief in god. I’m against parents indoctrinating children and pushing them to believe in things in a way harmful to the child’s life prospects – if that comes in the form of religious or nonreligious beliefs, I don’t really care, I object to both, and I think you should, too.

I believe parents ought to raise their children with secular ethical values (not “atheist” values, I don’t even know what that would entail), and to teach them about all the world’s religions and the fact that some people don’t follow a religion. When children are old enough, they can decide for themselves what to believe, free from parental pressure and coercion. THAT is protecting someone’s religious liberty. The alternative is to say that parents have the moral permission to force a child to be Muslim or Christian or an atheist, and that is very wrong.

["Valid reasons", "detrimental", "unduly invasive" and "otherwise objectionable" are words and phrases that have created totalitarian dictators.]

If this is intended to be an argument it hasn’t reached the level of being a very convincing one. Making vague allusions to people’s phraseology sounding reminiscent of Hitler is a poor excuse for a reasoned rebuttal. I do not support totalitarian dictatorships. I support treating children as people whose interests are extremely valuable and I expect parents to always act in the interests of children. Parents who engage in female genital mutilation, who teach their children that “God hates gays”, or who otherwise retard their child’s physiological or psychological development, are doing something grossly wrong. Citing religion does not vindicate the wrongfulness of these practices.

[Says who? And, even if it did, how do you define "critical thinking"?]

Well I said it, so I suppose says me. Every position I take up here won’t necessarily have data to support it, the same as anyone else’s . I take it as a plausible conclusion that childhood indoctrination, that is, teaching a child that certain beliefs are absolutely and unquestionably true, and that to believe anything else is “sinful”, impairs a child’s capacity to think clearly and rationally. If you want to disagree with that, feel free. I don’t think your disagreement will strike a competent observer as plausible.

Requesting definitions for words that are used in a non-technical way is a method of distracting from productive dialog. I mean whatever the general understanding of critical thinking is, and nothing more.

BenYachov said...

In fact to equate teaching your children what you believe to be the ultimate metaphysical truth(i.e. there is no God the world is just one of those things or God exists confess him & be saved or I don't know what the Hell is true etc...) with being worst than sex abuse is fundamentally a self-evidently irrational belief.

Lance you might as well be a Truther, Birther, Moonlanding Faker, flat earther Atheist/theist
I would give you even less respect.

Lance Bush said...

Hello again rank sophist. Part 2 of my reply:

[So, if an atheist community that despised religion placed peer pressure on children to conform, and they never allowed them access to religious views, then the government should intervene?]

If they should intervene in the case of religious indoctrination, then yes, they should also intervene in these instances as well. But since I’m not at all sure that governments ought to be empowered to do this, I’m not sure either ought to be legally prohibited from doing it. That being said, I’m not suggesting any programs in particular, but to the extent that my position might entail certain “programs”, they would not be identical to those of Soviet Russia, which were invasive, dogmatic, ideologically held, vicious, brutal, and straightforwardly not in the interests of children.

I favor whatever policies that protect children’s liberties and foster healthy development. Do you think the policies of Soviet Russia did that? I don’t, so why on earth would my position be “almost identical” to those?

[Same with raising children as atheists.]

Provided the child is pressured into being an atheist in a fashion parallel to religious indoctrination, I agree.

[So religion teaches ignorance and falsehood, huh?]

Yes. Any religion that teaches children that the Garden of Eden was an historical event (some forms of Christianity), that evolution is a lie (many religions), that infidels will burn forever in hellfire (Islam) is teaching ignorance and falsehood, as these both conflict with scientific evidence or utterly fail to be supported by any credible evidence at all and are therefore irrational to believe.

Furthermore, many religions also promote bigotry. To the extent that the Abrahamic faiths endorse moral opposition to homosexuality, I see no moral difference between this and opposition to interracial marriage. It is simply bigotry.

[And parents should be banned from teaching ignorance and falsehood to their children?]

You quoted me earlier saying this: “if the passing of such laws were not unduly invasive or otherwise objectionable (and they may in fact be)”

Notice that I said “and they may in fact be”. I did not stake a position on what policies I think should be put into practice, especially in non-ideal circumstances like the current U.S. government. Suppose for a moment that you fully endorsed the moral views I present here. Would you trust the U.S. government to implement them in a way you would actually approve of? I would not.

B. Prokop said...

No, Ben. Lance is unfortunately not a nut. He is, however, a totalitarian. His "freedom" for children translates into objective reality as the notion that all children are state-owned property, and that parents had better not interfere in the state-sanctioned education of such.

God help us from such so-called freedom!

And by the way, Lance. I will back off such statements once you explain to me just how such a "No Religious Upbringing" policy could be carried out in practice in the Real World without us all first surrendering every other freedom.

BenYachov said...

So Lance wants to set up a fascist government to judge when parents are "indoctrinating" there kids?

Sorry but as stupid as Dawkins version of Atheism is (so stupid where I to become an Atheist I would never embrace his version) as long as his kids are well fed, well adjusted and happy I would mind my own business and not get between him and them in teaching them his values.

Natural Law demands no less. Error has no rights but erroneous people do & they have the right to indoctrinate their kids and you have no right to indoctrinate them against their parents will.

Lance Bush said...

Hi BenYachov

[Just because Kids are resilient in that they can overcome a lot of trauma doesn't make sex abuse not as bad as teaching your kids to be either Theist or Atheist. ]

I never suggested that the latter was worse. I was comparing childhood religious indoctrination to sex abuse, and I made the point that *some* instances of religious indoctrination are more harmful than *some* instances of sex abuse. Given that both fall on a spectrum from people not being very harmed by them at all to people being driven to suicide, it would be ridiculous to think that all instances of sex abuse are always and uncontroversially worse than instances of religious indoctrination.

However, you have distorted my position in a way that makes it seem much weaker by presenting it as merely teaching your child to be a theist or atheist. I am taking about instances of children being forced into particular religious activities. Muslim apostate children are frequently hunted down and killed as adults, children in some families are forced to go to “Hell Houses”, are terrorized by fear of hell and by guilt over their actions, are placed in abusive situations with religious authorities (the Catholic Church), or are otherwise deeply and severely harmed by their religious upbringing.

To suppose that no instances of such religiously-inspired child rearing ever eclipse the harm of the mildest (and again, still very bad) forms of abuse is absurd. I would further argue that many instances of religious methods of raising children are consistently and substantially more detrimental to a child’s development. Children raised by the Phelps family are, I would argue, very likely deeply harmed by how they are raised.
So, your conclusion that I am “not rational” is based off of distorting and oversimplifying my views. I don’t think that makes you irrational or objectively a nut, it just makes you wrong.

Ben, are you familiar with the Phelps family? do you think that the Phelps family ought to be able to raise their children the way they do? Is what they are doing wrong? Also, do you believe that a parent ought to be able to refuse blood transfusions or other medical services to their children, even if it leads to death or permanent injury to the child, on religious grounds? If not, why not? If so, then would you at least concede that sometimes a parent's religious beliefs lead directly to the death of their child and that this is a problem?

BenYachov said...

Bob is right Lance you are objectively a totalitarian.

By what standard to you pro-port to judge wither or not I "indoctrinate" my kids or not?

How do I know that standard is valid & true?

Do you get to decide for me or do I have a say?

You clearly haven't thought any of this through or God forbid you really believe it.

Lance Bush said...

[He is, however, a totalitarian]
Can you please support this conclusion with something of substance?

My entire position so far consists in one simple position: that it is wrong for parents to make their children share their beliefs, to pressure them to believe the same as they do, to force them to attend the same religious services, and to prohibit the child from learning about other religions.

I outlined how I think parents ought to raise children above: they ought to raise the child to adopt ethical views and to learn about the world’s religions and lack of religion, and to, when they are old enough, free from any pressure or coercion, decide what religious beliefs, if any, they wish to adopt.

In other words, I am arguing that parents have a moral responsibility to raise their children in the interests of the child, not in the interests of the parent, because children have a right to grow up with an open mind.


[His "freedom" for children translates into objective reality as the notion that all children are state-owned property, and that parents had better not interfere in the state-sanctioned education of such.]

This is dead wrong. I do not believe children are anyone’s property, but I do believe that the state has an obligation protect children from bad parents. Do you disagree? The state may intervene when parents molest or beat their children, when they fail to bring them in for medical exams or fail to educate them, or otherwise fail the child. The state has the moral permission to step in where parents fail – and that’s it. I do not believe children are ever anyone’s property and I’m disgusted by the suggestion that I hold this view. Please do not pretend to characterize my views and then do so in a way that grossly misrepresents them. That is also unethical.

Also, to some extent, I agree with the latter in the sense that the state can and should codify certain principles of education which I don’t think parents have a right to interfere with. For instance, I think it is fine for a state to legislate that children have a right to at least a basic education, including, for instance, the right to learn to read. Would you think it is morally acceptable, and that the state has no right to act all totalitarian, if a parent locked their child in a basement and refused to let them read? I would consider the abuse, and you should, too.

So far, I am astonished at how poorly people here debate, how everyone immediately reaches for top-shelf accusations of fascism and totalitarianism, fails to provide any evidence of me expressing these views, and then treats me with scorn, dismissal, insults, and disdain. I expected more reasonable dialog here. So far, I've been shown to be quite wrong.

BenYachov said...

>I made the point that *some* instances of religious indoctrination are more harmful than *some* instances of sex abuse.

What does this have to do with Dawkins?

Sure a single instant of a teenage boy who touches a 10 year old girl's privates once is not as bad as years of using a religion psychological abuse but what does that have to do with your fascist views on teaching children religion?

If Phelps is psychologically abusing his kids then he must be stopped but there are plenty of Five Point Calvinists out there who don't abuse their children psychologically.

Your speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

On the one hand according to you parents teaching kids religion or atheism is "indoctrination".

OTOH you equate teaching children one's own metaphysical world view with the conviction that world view is the ultimate truth with "indoctrination" and psychological abuse.

Which is it?

Is it the content of the teaching that is the problem or the psychological abuse?

Because there is no difference between Phelps and Madalyn Murray O'Hair(since according to her Son William Murry she was a very abusive, hateful neglectful controlling woman).

Plus what gives you the right to judge wither or not I am "indoctrinating" my kids? I'll teach my kids Catholicism is true. You can't stop me & God help you if you try because I will defend myself.

BTW that also goes for you doing that to an Atheist.

BenYachov said...

You are a confused Person Lance.

According to you I violate my kid's rights if I teach them Catholicism is the truth and they should believe it.

If BDK decides to teach his daughter there is no God and that is the truth "he violates her rights".

Do equate psychologically abusive parents like Phelps with me or O'Hair with BDK?

Because it appears to me you are equating the fact it is wrong to psychologically abuse your kids with teaching them a specific theological, metaphysical or philosophical content with the conviction that content is the real truth.

If I don't understand you at this point I blame you.

Karl Grant said...

Lance,

As disgusting and awful childhood sexual abuse is, many, if not most children recover for the most part and go on to live happy lives as adults.

Just because kids can cope with trauma doesn't mean parents teaching kids their beliefs is on the same level as raping them. No way, no sir. What's next, you're going to say telling an atheist 'Jesus loves them' is on the same level as shooting them because most gunshot wounds are not fatal and can be healed?

Or in other words, for you to actually have an argument here you need to provide studies showing the (if any) mental trauma caused by being raised to believe what your parents believe is worse the mental trauma of being molested. Simply saying kids can recover from sexual trauma does not cut it.

When children are old enough, they can decide for themselves what to believe, free from parental pressure and coercion.

Children already decide for themselves what to believe, regardless of parental pressure and coercion. How many people raised in religious households became atheists when they grew up? Quite a few. How many people raised in atheist households became religious? Quite a few. It's not like parents telling kids what they believe stops them from thinking or disagreeing with said beliefs.

Lance Bush said...

[Your "argument" fails to consider just how totalitarian such a state would have to be for it to intervene in how parents raise their children.]

No, I didn’t “fail to consider it”. You might want to actually read what I write next time. I said this:

“there were valid secular reasons for the state to prohibit methods of child rearing which were detrimental to children, and if the passing of such laws were not unduly invasive or otherwise objectionable (and they may in fact be), then the state would have an interest, even an obligation, to do so”


Let me put it in bold so you can see it: and if the passing of such laws were not unduly invasive or otherwise objectionable (and they may in fact be)

Oops, looks like I did consider that. I also followed this up with other posts where I’ve clarified that I am speaking about what is unethical, and not speaking directly to what policies ought to be implemented. So you’ve made a false assumption about what my position entails. Please correct it.

[Just how do you propose to enforce such a law?]

I have no proposals for enforcing such a law, and never suggested that I did.

[Are you going to have state inspectors combing through everyone's private residences?]

Probably not, hence why I think implementing policies against parental indoctrination, even if it is wrong, “may in fact be” unduly invasive or objectionable, to quote…myself. Again, please read what I actually say before you conjure up conclusions about my position which are not only wrong, but were addressed in the very post you responded to.

Given that I have advocated none of the things you suggest, to say this: “Like it or not, that's exactly what you're advocating” is to assert a rank falsehood. I would appreciate if you would retract it. Also, given the totally unjustified and vicious invective I’ve encountered so far here, where everyone has immediately jumped on the bandwagon of presuming they know what my views are, ignoring what I say, and then misrepresenting what I did say, I think you owe me an apology, too. I came here to have a dialog about the ethics of child rearing; I do not endorse totalitarian policies and these accusations are, so far, so absurd as to be comical. Please, please, stop doing this and have a conversation that actually involves addressing my position and not some imaginary atheist fundamentalist.

Perhaps part of the reason everyone here seems to perceive radicalism and fundamentalism among atheists is that you project it onto us, insist it is the case when we explicitly say otherwise and denounce it, and otherwise refuse to actually look at what much of say. I totally agree some atheists are fundamentalists and totalitarians. I’m not one of them.

For one thing, I’d prefer a libertarian state (despite my objections to that) over a totalitarian one. The threat of too much government is more dangerous, in my view, then the threat of too little of one. I'm simply and straightforwardly not in favor of totalitarian policies.

BenYachov said...

Thus everyone agrees psychological abuse is wrong wither you are Phelps or O'Hair.

But teaching ideological content or philosophical, metaphysical or theological content with the conviction said content is the truth to your children is not psychological abuse. It is merely raising your kids.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov

[In fact to equate teaching your children what you believe to be the ultimate metaphysical truth(i.e. there is no God the world is just one of those things or God exists confess him & be saved or I don't know what the Hell is true etc...) with being worst than sex abuse is fundamentally a self-evidently irrational belief.]

I agree. I don’t hold that belief though, so I don’t see how that’s relevant. Did you think that this is what I thought? If so, please update your beliefs. I’ve already provided examples of what I think are part of the problem with many forms of religious upbringing; teaching children what are probably trivial falsehoods doesn’t score high on that list.
Here’s one example: telling a gay child that homosexuality is a sin and that if they continue to act on homosexual urges, they will be tortured forever in hell.

Teaching this to a child is psychological abuse.

Does everyone on this blog simply make up the views of the people they object to, or is it just everyone commenting so far?

So far, I have seen people object to so many phantom views I don't hold that I can hardly keep track.

Here's a few so far:

1. I do not endorse totalitarian governments.

2. I have not endorsed here a view that the state is justified in interfering in parental child rearing. I think it MAY be, but I have not fielded an argument for this, nor have I endorsed any particular policies. Yet people here have immediately interpreted me as doing so, despite my explicitly not doing so by suggesting such policies may be unduly invasive in my original posts .

So I have to ask: what is wrong with you people? Why do you insist on making up positions I don't hold and attack those, rather than actually addressing my arguments? The degree of irrationality here, coupled with the pompous reassurance you all provide one another that I'm the one with the problem, is utterly astounding.

Please address the arguments I've actually made. Please

B. Prokop said...

"I’m disgusted by the suggestion that I hold this view."

But you do. I am merely pointing out to you the logical consequences of what you yourself have professed on this website. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here, and assume you were simply spouting off in a stream of consciousness style without actually thinking through what you were writing. But if you really meant it, then you cannot escape the implications of such thinking.

"I expected more reasonable dialog here."

A good place to start would be your own contributions.

"I do believe that the state has an obligation protect children from bad parents. Do you disagree?"

Classic case of the False Choice fallacy. The state has no business, none, zero, nada in interfering in the religious upbringing of a child. What you fail to realize is that your supposedly benign, non-invasive policy is a logical impossibility, a total fantasy, cannot be carried out in the Real World. The reality would be oppression, intrusiveness into the most private family matters, and an unimaginably vast expansion of the state's interference in every aspect of our lives.

So who gets to decide what is "improper" upbringing? You? The "reason rally"? Dawkins?

Crude said...

Lance,

Calling something wretched isn’t a rebuttal.

I didn't say I offered a rebuttal. In fact, I specifically said that my bothering to rebut your "argument" would be a waste of time, because you don't deserve to be taken seriously.

The data is pretty solid, actually.

No, Lance, it isn't, because your argument here wasn't just a vague nod in the direction that 'child sexual abuse may not be, in all classified cases, as harmful as popularly supposed' but A) that a religious upbringing is harmful, and B) that this harm exceeds the harm of child sexual abuse.

A sensible person would realize, at least, what abstractions necessarily would be at work in an analysis like this, and would also realize that their gut feelings about a religious upbringing did not constitute "data".

BenYachov said...

>Muslim apostate children are frequently hunted down and killed as adults,

One Italian Imam once wrote that only a Caliph during the End Times has the authority to put an Apostate to death and even then he may use discretion.

>children in some families are forced to go to “Hell Houses”, are terrorized by fear of hell

I've read too many accounts by ex-Atheist children how horrified they where of death & the thought of ceasing to exist. In fact I find the whole concept more terrifying then Hell. The complete loss of self. All my good memories and experience washed away as if they never happened. Then what was the point?

Not teaching children anything. Keeping them ignorant doesn't immune them from fear.

>and by guilt over their actions, are placed in abusive situations with religious authorities (the Catholic Church),

I find it hard to believe only Catholics have guilt. So no liberal parents guilt their kids who lean conservative? Or hippie parents their kids if they become capitalists?

>or are otherwise deeply and severely harmed by their religious upbringing.

Bullshit! You are either raised with kindness or you are not. Doctrinal or ideological content is not relevant.

Crude said...

By the way, regarding the Cult of Gnu and hate group connections, I offer up a quote from this nutjob rant by PZ Myers:

Yesterday I was listening to our Christian protesters outside, and I thought, “Huh. So that’s what you get when you give a sheep a microphone, amplified bleating.” There they were, calling on everyone to deny the richness of human experience and join the flock in the narrow boring confines of the sheep pen, so mindless they didn’t even realize they were calling to the wolves.

I have a different metaphor for us, my brothers and sisters in atheism. We are not sheep; there are no shepherds here. I look out from this stage and I see 4000 pairs of hunter’s eyes, 4000 hunter’s minds, 4000 pairs of hunter’s hands. I see the primeval primate hunting band grown large and strong. I see us so confident in our strength that we laugh at our enemies. I see a people thinking and planning, fierce and focused, learning and building new tools to conquer new worlds.

You are not sheep. You, my brothers and sisters in atheism, are a fierce, coordinated hunting pack — men and women working together, and those other bastards have cause to fear us. So let’s do it: make them tremble as we demolish the city of god.


Now, I don't think this rant is scary. Really, I think it's the words of a chubby failed-scientist who sounds like a complete neckbeard when he tries to be all "inspiring": the pathetic bleating of an angry individual trying to whip up a crowd of like-minded rubes. On the other hand, I think the same from what racist group speeches I've heard.

So yeah, I think the cult of gnu has more than passing similarities to hate groups, and it's entirely fair to call this out.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov

[What does this have to do with Dawkins?]

Quite a bit – I hold more or less the same position Dawkins does.

[Sure a single instant of a teenage boy who touches a 10 year old girl's privates once is not as bad as years of using a religion psychological abuse but what does that have to do with your fascist views on teaching children religion?]

Again, you are oversimplifying this. First of all, I don’t support any “fascist views”. I have supported a child’s religious liberty to not be indoctrinated.

Do you think children are property? How do you think a parent should be permitted to raise a child? If a parent beats or abuses them, presumably you think that this is wrong. If a parent teaches them totally ridiculous nonsense, such as that the world is flat, that all math is evil, that the written word is “of the demons”, etc. this would almost certainly impair a child. I’m arguing that religious instruction can vary such that it is this bad, or less bad, but not qualitatively different. For instance, Christian parents teaching children that the earth is 6000 years old, that evolution is a lie, and that homosexuality and masturbation are sins, are all instances, I believe, of a parent wronging a child by endorsing ignorance and bigotry. Should the state intervene? I don’t know, but what the parent is doing is wrong, regardless.

[If Phelps is psychologically abusing his kids then he must be stopped but there are plenty of Five Point Calvinists out there who don't abuse their children psychologically.]

Okay, then you can agree that Phelps is abusing is children? That’s precisely the kind of scenario I’m talking about. How do you feel about certain religious sects refusing to give their children medical treatment? Is that also wrong? What about parents who punish children for failing to participate in family religious activities? Is that not the parent taking away a child’s liberty?

If you think a parent is wrong to punish a child for, say, refusing to go to church, or refusing to pray, or refusing to perform a religious ceremony, then you agree with me. If you don’t agree with me, and you agree that it is wrong for parents to force children to do this, one what grounds do you accuse me of totalitarian views? You would be the one insisting on taking away a person’s freedom, while I’m arguing for it.

Do children have a right to freedom of religion or not? If they do, then how do you draw the conclusion that parents trampling this right, and my calling this wrong and possibly an instance calling for state intervention, a form of “totalitarianism”?

What an absurd distortion of my actual position, which is pro-liberty, not anti-liberty.

[On the one hand according to you parents teaching kids religion or atheism is "indoctrination".

OTOH you equate teaching children one's own metaphysical world view with the conviction that world view is the ultimate truth with "indoctrination" and psychological abuse.

Which is it?]

These views are not inconsistent. Indoctrinating children is wrong. The content of the indoctrination can make such indoctrination more or less objectionable, but ALL indoctrination is wrong. So, my answer is “both”, but only to the extent that the manner in which the children are taught either doctrine actually is detrimental to their capacity to freely choose their views as an adult, and to the extent that it is delivered in a manner psychologically detrimental to the child.

A bare bones form of deism, theism, or atheism is unlikely to be harmful to children. Teaching them specific doctrines, or teaching them in abusive ways, would be.

[Is it the content of the teaching that is the problem or the psychological abuse?]

Good question. It’s both; my particular concern here is the latter, though – the psychological abuse. Though I also think the content can be abusive too, and some of the examples I’ve mentioned earlier entail this.

BenYachov said...

>Here’s one example: telling a gay child that homosexuality is a sin and that if they continue to act on homosexual urges, they will be tortured forever in hell.

Why would I only teach the above and leave out the part about God being merciful & even if he due to human weakness gives in to his urges that God is ready to pardon him?

God loves him and has given him sufficient grace to be saved. Also that he is no different than any other sinner who is not gay.

You have a serious messed up view of Catholicsm.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov, the 2nd part of my reply:

As an instance of the method of instruction being wrong, it is wrong for a parent to tell a child that only the parents’ view is correct, that it is wrong to read about or think about other people’s points of view, and that the child is not allowed to pick up books by people who hold different views. If this is enforced by a withdrawal of affection by the parent, or by direct punishment, it is more coercive and therefore more abusive.

As far as content is concerned, religions have certain forms of content which it is wrong to teach children: evolution denial, denigration of reason, opposition to homosexuality, inferiority of women, etc.

Secular ideologies similarly contain content which it is wrong to teach children: that a particular race is superior, that we are justified in killing or enslaving members of other ethnic groups or nationalities, that the leader of the state should be trusted uncritically, etc. all of these views are abusive to teach children.

[Because there is no difference between Phelps and Madalyn Murray O'Hair(since according to her Son William Murry she was a very abusive, hateful neglectful controlling woman).]

IF the latter is true, that she was abusive, then I agree with you.

[Plus what gives you the right to judge wither or not I am "indoctrinating" my kids?]

I don’t think it’s a matter of anyone having a “right” to do so or not. I think there are plausible criteria for what constitutes “indoctrination” and either the way a parent raises their child constitutes this or not. It is an objective fact whether or not someone’s actions constitution indoctrination or not. I’m not suggesting it is based on my personal opinions.

[ I'll teach my kids Catholicism is true. You can't stop me & God help you if you try because I will defend myself.]

Imagine someone saying the same, but replace “Catholicism” with “Satanism”?:


”I'll teach my kids Satanism is true. You can't stop me & Satan help you if you try because I will defend myself.”

Can you see why I might find that objectionable?

I understand that you feel threatened by the suggestion that teaching your children Catholicism is wrong. I think that it is, and I think you are wronging your children to teach Catholicism to them. I am quite sure you disagree. But I think you would agree that teaching children Satanism is wrong. If I had the power to prevent a parent from teaching a child hateful, evil things, I would exercise that power for the sake of the child. You should do the same. If you would be perfectly fine with your neighbor teaching whatever they damn well pleased to their child, regardless of how psychologically it screwed the child up as an adult, and regardless of how unethical it made them, then to put it quite frankly, I think you have the problem, not me.

I wouldn’t make my children be atheists, by the way. That’s kind of a silly idea, really. I’d teach them about all the religions of the world, about what atheists say, about what critics of atheists say, and I’d try to teach them to understand how to reason for themselves and draw their own conclusions. Any parent who doesn’t do this is failing to respect their child’s freedom, and that includes you. I guess that makes you, and not I, a bit of a fascist.

Crude said...

Ben,

I think the most charitable way to state what Lance there is fumbling to say would be, "You shouldn't abuse children. You shouldn't beat the crap out of them, you shouldn't knowingly teach them clear falsehoods."

The problem is that nothing, absolutely nothing, singles out 'religion' in the defensible statement. In fact it would speak against Christianity, since at least in the case of (say) YECs, they are not knowingly teaching their children falsehoods: they are teaching them what they believe, rightly or wrongly, to be true. And the list of 'harmful falsehoods' would in no way be limited to religion, nor even biased towards religion given the data we have on this front - forgetting, for a moment, that an atheist's opinion of what is an obvious falsehood doesn't equate with something actually being such.

There's no way to polish the turd Lance is offering up without rendering it utterly changed into something else in the process.

BenYachov said...

>If you think a parent is wrong to punish a child for, say, refusing to go to church,

Depends? Is he doing it because he really has the reasoned conviction God does not exist or is he just defying me for the sake of defying me?

OTOH I don't blame kids whose parents don't really teach them the faith & leave religious instructors to do it.

>or refusing to pray, or refusing to perform a religious ceremony, then you agree with me.

At a certain older age when it appears to be an informed conscious choice born out of sincere conviction why would I want to try and force him to do anything.

But if he is just being a little brat that is not going to fly. No parent should tolerate that type of defiance. Ask the Super Nanny.

>If you don’t agree with me, and you agree that it is wrong for parents to force children to do this, one what grounds do you accuse me of totalitarian views?

I judge when my kid is old enough before he is legally of age to make his own judgments in these matters & I will judge using my prudent judgment as too wither or not his is acting from conviction or rebellion.

You are not involved so but out! Raise your own kids!

BenYachov said...

Lance wrote:

>it is wrong for a parent to tell a child that only the parents’ view is correct,

Is it therefore wrong for you Lance to teach your kids the claim above is correct?

Your view is not logical or coherent & I reject it & I will teach my kids to do so regardless if I believe in God or not.

It is not wrong for a parent to tell his child only his view is correct unless the parent doesn't really believe it to be correct in which case the parent is lying.

So you are wrong and your view is incoherent.

BenYachov said...

Lance's moral Dogma:

It is wrong for a Parent to tell a child only the parents' view is correct.

Logically it is wrong to teach Lance's moral Dogma as correct to any child.

Lance give it up.

Lance Bush said...

Hi Crude. Part 1:

[I didn't say I offered a rebuttal. In fact, I specifically said that my bothering to rebut your "argument" would be a waste of time, because you don't deserve to be taken seriously.]

You're right, you didn't, but I'll now argue that you should, because you should take my argument seriously. You should take it seriously because, so far, I have made a solid case, but secondly, and more importantly for you, you have misunderstood how I feel that case is supported, which I discuss below. Once these misunderstandings are taken into consideration, I think your dismissal stands as unjustified.

You don’t even reply to simple points which would favor my position over one you may hold, for instance, would you at least answer this question:

Does a person’s freedom of religion apply only to themselves, or does it apply to others as well?

My position is that it only applies to yourself, so extending it to forcing your religion on your children is not an example of exercising your “freedom of religion”, because it overrides the child’s freedom of religion (if all persons have freedom of religion).

If this is a bad argument, then, despite my not deserving to be taken seriously, at least do anyone who might read my terrible, stupid posts with a brief explanation of why this is a bad argument. If you won't even do that, then I have to wonder what your real motivation is: I suspect it is simply an inability to actually address the points I'm making. If my position really doesn't deserve to be taken seriously, then what I submit is your inability to rebut it represents a reason to take you even less seriously.

[No, Lance, it isn't, because your argument here wasn't just a vague nod in the direction that 'child sexual abuse may not be, in all classified cases, as harmful as popularly supposed' but A) that a religious upbringing is harmful, and B) that this harm exceeds the harm of child sexual abuse.]

First of all, yes it is, because the only sense in which I was referring to the data being good is the data suggesting only that " 'child sexual abuse may not be, in all classified cases, as harmful as popularly supposed". In that sense, the data is good, and that’s the only sense I meant it in. You’ve now simply misunderstood what I was referring to, presumed I was citing it as direct evidence of A and B (which are positions I affirm), and then concluded that because it doesn’t support those, that it isn’t. You’ve made a mistake in understanding my position. Please correct it.

Lance Bush said...

Hello again Crude, Part 2:

My position is extremely simple, and not at all vague: teaching children religion is wrong. It varies in how wrong it is from being worse than sexual abuse to being bad, but milder than sexual abuse. The actual badness of religious child raising is much worse than most people would acknowledge.

That is my position, and I have more than provided a robust argument for it. You can choose not to take me seriously if you wish – that is, of course, your prerogative, but I think it is completely unwarranted for you to do so.

Which of these do you think it is wrong to teach a child?

1. Homosexuality is wrong
2. Women should submit to their husbands
3. Husbands may physically discipline their wives, but not vice versa
4. If your family rejects your religious views, they should be shunned completely forever

I think it is wrong to teach all of these to a child. You may disagree with some or all of them, but the point I’d make is a broader one than this: that much religious instruction not only fills children’s heads with bad ethics and falsehoods, it undermines their motivation and ability to choose their own beliefs; many religious communities are hostile towards those who do not share their beliefs, and much family tension and discord is the result of differences of view on religion. This would not exist in a society where parents were more willing to permit deviations in their children’s religious beliefs.

[A sensible person would realize, at least, what abstractions necessarily would be at work in an analysis like this, and would also realize that their gut feelings about a religious upbringing did not constitute "data".]
A sensible person like you hopefully are would have realized that the data I was talking about was only in support of the position that child sexual abuse is not as harmful as people commonly suppose; I was not citing it as data directly supporting my views on religion. Either you’ve deliberately misinterpreted what I think my data supports, or you’ve just made a mistake in how you think I’m supporting my case. Either way, this entire last comment is off the mark because it has nothing to do with my position.
Again, I think you have underestimated my capacity to defend the position I am taking here, and I will reiterate that dismissing my argument as one you won’t take seriously is not rationally justifiable.

BenYachov said...

>But I think you would agree that teaching children Satanism is wrong.

What does that have to do with your lunatic incoherent dogma that it is wrong for a parent to tell a child that only the parents’ view is correct,?

I can't teach my kids the above principle is true without violating it.

If you wish to believe such an irrational principle then knock yourself out.

But I could deny God and the Catholic Church tomorrow and you would still sound like a nutcase.

Lance Bush said...

Hi BenYachov

[It is wrong for a Parent to tell a child only the parents' view is correct.

Logically it is wrong to teach Lance's moral Dogma as correct to any child.

Lance give it up.]

Uh, yea, it would look like this would be a contradiction if in fact I ONLY thought my view on this matter should be taught to a child. But I don’t. I think the child should be taught other views, something I’ve already repeatedly said here.

So, I would tell my child my view on this matter, AND I’d tell them that other people disagree with me. I also would not force or pressure them into sharing my view. Viola – no contradiction.
Perhaps you should give up?

Attempts at catching people in contradictions that actually would entail the person holding views explicitly in conflict with views they've already stated is a little weird. Where did you get the idea that I'd insist on the views I'm arguing for here being pushed on my children? Oh that's right: you made it up .

I'll ask again: please actually address my position, and not positions you imagine me to have.

BenYachov said...

>The second Lance moral dogma.

You must teach other world views to children.

The logical contradiction remains. Since it is wrong to teach a child only your view is correct. Then it is still wrong to teach the above view is correct to a child.

BenYachov said...

Lance you are all over the place.

I made nothing up you just suck out loud at expressing your view.

Lance Bush said...

[What does that have to do with your lunatic incoherent dogma that it is wrong for a parent to tell a child that only the parents’ view is correct,?]

Can you please justify attributing to my position the attributions of “lunatic”, “incoherent”, and “dogma”? Given that I do not believe this is a dogma, and would not endorse it as one, why would you call it that? Why is it a “lunatic” position to say it is wrong to tell a child only the parent is right? What’s crazy about that? Lastly, if my view is incoherent, then how is it you understand it enough to object to it and assign other qualities to it which suggest that it’s intelligible enough for you to do so? Do you know what “incoherent” means?

As for what it has to do with it: do you agree that it's wrong to teach a child to be a Satanist? Please answer that question.

As for what it has to do with my position, I'm making this point:

Some religious views parents teach their child are religious views you yourself would regard as objectionable and wrong to teach children.

To the extent that a parent in fact taught such views to a child, the parent would, I am arguing, be wronging the child.

This is an example of the content of what is taught being wrong, not the method. Teaching a child that only the parent's views are correct is, perhaps, a content problem, but primarily a bad method for "teaching" children.

Also, I have to point out a very, very odd facet of this argument.

I am objecting to parents teaching their children that only their views are correct - that is, I am objecting to parents teaching their children dogmatically.

You have called this objection "dogmatic". You are now in the rather ridiculous position of having declared a principled opposition to dogmatism a "dogma".

BenYachov said...

What if Richard Dawkins believes it is wrong to teach his kids it's realistically possible the world was literally created over a 144 hour period?

Must I force him to teach other views like Young Earth Creationism?

According to you it is wrong for Dawkins to teach his children that only evolution is true.

By your logic Dawkins in order to not be wrong must teach YES and ID to his kids.

Bullshit! & I a Catholic Christian cry bullshit!

BenYachov said...

Sorry Lance but God or no God.

Logically a person must teach their children what they in fact believe to be true and they are under no obligation to teach contrary views they believe to be un-true.

You are all over the place.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov

[>The second Lance moral dogma.

You must teach other world views to children.

The logical contradiction remains. Since it is wrong to teach a child only your view is correct. Then it is still wrong to teach the above view is correct to a child.]
No, once again, you have not identified any logical contradictions.
I am saying that parents have a moral obligation to teach their children about other religions. This has nothing to do with parents teaching their children that only their views are correct, especially since such an instruction would include teaching the child not only that the parents views might be wrong, but that the parent teaching the child by the method I am proposing might be wrong. If the child asked the parent whether the method of instruction that the parent is giving them is the only correct one possible, the parent should say “no”, and admit that the way they are teaching their child MIGHT be the wrong way to teach them. That doesn’t, however, mean that it isn’t the right way to teach the child; it simply means that all views should be open to questioning and scrutiny, and that no parent should be teaching a child that they, as a parent, are infallible.
Really though, I can’t actually see the contradiction you are supposedly referring to. Can you point it out?

[I made nothing up you just suck out loud at expressing your view.]
Yes, you did make things up. Did you not read my earlier posts? I’ll quote it AGAIN, since you apparently can’t pay attention.

I said this: If there were valid secular reasons for the state to prohibit methods of child rearing which were detrimental to children, and if the passing of such laws were not unduly invasive or otherwise objectionable (and they may in fact be), then the state would have an interest, even an obligation, to do so.

One of your initial replies involved this presumably rhetorical question, which you have gone on to insist upon despite my quote there:

“So Lance wants to set up a fascist government to judge when parents are "indoctrinating" there kids?”

I have never endorsed, and have explicitly rejected, totalitarian policies, and you have attributed them to me nonetheless. In other words, you are making up a position which I don’t hold . You have still not withdrawn this or apologized for it.

Since I have explicitly demonstrated that this is not the case with the very words I’ve used in this discussion, it is clear at this point either that you are too incapable of rational discourse to acknowledge that you were mistaken, or too dishonest to do so, but it is simply the case that you have made up what you believe my position to be, you have insisted I maintain totalitarian principles though I have never expressed them here, and you have continued to maintain this position after I have repeatedly offered rebuttal to it.

That is disingenuous to say the least.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov

[Logically a person must teach their children what they in fact believe to be true and they are under no obligation to teach contrary views they believe to be un-true.]

That is not logically necessary. Teachers who do not believe evolution to be true are still under a state obligation to teach it. Since I have provided an example of a person teaching a belief which they don’t hold, I have demonstrated your position to be wrong.

I am not objectionably “all over the place”. As far as I know, I’m the only person that’s presented formal, numbered arguments, and I still haven’t seen anyone really, seriously address them. Instead, I’ve seen others go “all over the place” by bringing up irrelevant points, and accusing me of positions which I don’t hold – such as people failing to note in my initial post the awareness that state intervention is possibly too invasive, and they have gone on to accuse me of a series of false views which I don’t hold. I have spent most of this debate having to deny holding positions which I made it clear I don’t accept from the beginning. You yourself have participated in this ridiculous straw-man tarring campaign. This is absurd, and shouldn’t happen.

To the extent that I have had to address dozens of tangential issues, though, this is because it is me vs. everyone else. Accusing me of being “all over the place” under such circumstances is like criticizing a single combatant for “firing recklessly” in a gun fight with 50 opponents surrounding them. It’s a weird criticism.

BenYachov said...

>Which of these do you think it is wrong to teach a child?

>1. Homosexuality is wrong

Rather having anything other then natural sex in marriage between a man and a woman is wrong.

>2. Women should submit to their husbands.

Of course but that doesn't mean she must do everything he tells her nor does it mean he may command her to violate her conscious.

>3. Husbands may physically discipline their wives, but not vice versa

I don't know that Muslim women can't hit their husbands? I see it all the time.

Still there is a Hadith that says a man may not treat his wife like his dog or he offends Allah. He may not strike her face or hurt her or humiliate her.

Still it's not my religion. I don't give shit about defending Islam. She can file abuse charges and before God claim her husband violated the limits put there by The Prophet.

>4. If your family rejects your religious views, they should be shunned completely forever.

If my son came home and told me he was gay and a rational Atheist I would be sad but he would still be my son.

OTOH if he came home and told me he was straight, Pro-choice and a Gnu'Atheist I would say "GET OUT! YOU ARE DEAD TO ME!".

Some things are beyond tolerance.;-)

BenYachov said...

You are all over the map Lance.

Now you are switching from parents to public school teachers?

And it's our fault for not understanding you?

Lance Bush said...

[I've read too many accounts by ex-Atheist children how horrified they where of death & the thought of ceasing to exist. In fact I find the whole concept more terrifying then Hell. The complete loss of self. All my good memories and experience washed away as if they never happened. Then what was the point?]

Alright, and telling a child that that will definitely happen and that they should fear it would deny them their ability to think critically and decide for themselves, so it isn’t inconsistent with my position.
[I find it hard to believe only Catholics have guilt.]

Can you quote me saying that? If you can’t, can you explain why you’d say something like this?

[So no liberal parents guilt their kids who lean conservative? Or hippie parents their kids if they become capitalists?]

Teaching those things is also probably wrong, especially if it isn’t true.

[Bullshit! You are either raised with kindness or you are not. Doctrinal or ideological content is not relevant.]

I’m not sure what you mean here, but things definitely aren’t as simple as either you are raised with kindness or not. Ideological content includes views as extreme as Islamic radical suicide terrorism support – teaching THAT content is relevant, that it is simply and straightforwardly included in “ideological content”, kind or not. Also, lots of religions beliefs may be well meaning and kind in principle, but nasty in practice; opposition to homosexuality, for instance.

Tony Hoffman said...

Me: "Evolution become more interesting and profound the further it is examined. Transubstantiation seems more and more ridiculous."
RS: "Says who?"

I don't believe that mundane observations require expert attestation. If you disagree that my mundane observation is incorrect, you could explain why.

Me: "What Dawkins et al. are saying is that ridicule IS WARRANTED when it seems impossible to state a proper understanding of the belief that does not seem ridiculous."
RS: "Define "ridiculous". Define "proper understanding". "

I think the term is fairly easily understood in the way that Dawkins et al. explicate. By ridicule I'd venture that they mean to point out and treat with a level of scorn that relates to that belief's entailments and it's lack of warrant -- something along that line.

RS: "Also, that isn't what Dawkins and his cronies are doing. To quote Hyper above: 'They believe that raising your child in your religion is worse than paedophilia (Dawkins) and that converting the planet's population to atheism is preferable to the elimination of rape because religion is worse than rape (Harris). It follows from this that a very large section of the planet's population are worse than rapists and paedophiles. They believe that young people should be denied access to university if they do not believe in evolution (Dawkins).' "

So, to indict Dawkins et al. you choose to quote someone who tells you what they are all saying. I guess there's no need to, you know, look at what they actually say and do, and view those statements in context, etc. If it seems fair to you to amplify and distort their most provocative statements, and demonize them on this assessment alone, then you do not appear interested in a discussion about the ideas that they raise.

RS: "They are emulating Mao, Lenin, Marx and Pol Pot in all but deed."

Ha. Well, when you take out the "deed" part I think you've pretty much described virtually every public figure of the last 50 years with that statement. But, of course, you'd like to imply that Dawkins et al. are just one brief power struggle away from becoming mass murderers... What should we do about that, I wonder? What should one do with those who, given the chance, would kill us all? What would be the right thing, I'm sure you're just wondering out loud...

Tony Hoffman said...

Me: "But evolutionary theory starts out seeming absurd (to most, I imagine), but the evidence compels us to accept it. Transubstantiation starts out seeming absurd, and no evidence compels us to accept it. There's a huge chasm between these two sets of beliefs that you seem to not acknowledge, and that charity demands you accept in Dawkins statements."
RS: "Says who?"

Mundane observation again. I do not believe that expert attestation is required for the mundane. The sky appears blue is a mundane observation. "Says who?" makes you sound like a defense lawyer who has neither the facts nor the law on his side.

Evolution, initially strange but with lots of evidence. Transubstantiation, initially strange, but with...? You see, that's the filter that Dawkins et al. are applying to the ridicule of ideas -- those that carry entailments and yet are privileged from scrutiny deserve examination and, if the situation warrants it, then ridicule. Beliefs that are stubborn and cause harm and are not reliable, verifiable, and objective, those beliefs deserve to be ridiculed. Because ridicule is among the most effective tools we have to change some people's minds about these kinds of ideas. (Now, that may be wrong, and I think it's the only live issue here, but that is the issue that I think the OP raises.)

RS: "Tony, you're just making bald assertions. Why should anyone pay attention? Why is anyone obligated to answer you?

Partly explained above. For my part, I tend not to pay attention or reply to comments that do not address what I see as the principal issue. Unless I'm pretty bored, in which case it's all live.

BenYachov said...

>If there were valid secular reasons for the state to prohibit methods of child rearing which were detrimental to children.

Lance you are either abusing them or you are not. You are either being cruel to them or you are not. You are either acting lovingly & teaching them what you believe to be true for their benefit or not. You are warning them or not exposing them till they are ready from harmful things or you are not.

Abuse is not child rearing.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov

[According to you I violate my kid's rights if I teach them Catholicism is the truth and they should believe it.]

Yes.

[If BDK decides to teach his daughter there is no God and that is the truth "he violates her rights".]

No. Teaching someone there probably isn’t a god is perfectly fine. I don’t object to the content in that case. Unless the content entailed substantively objectionable additions, which in this case it might. It would matter HOW they taught them, in this case. Remember: my position has both to do with content and with method. I don’t object to teaching children that belief in god is not rational because this is true. I do object to them insisting it is the only possible answer and that the parent is definitely correct about this, because that is bad method.

[Do equate psychologically abusive parents like Phelps with me or O'Hair with BDK?]

I don’t know enough about O’hair’s treatment, but if it is comparably detrimental to children, then yes.

[Because it appears to me you are equating the fact it is wrong to psychologically abuse your kids with teaching them a specific theological, metaphysical or philosophical content with the conviction that content is the real truth.

If I don't understand you at this point I blame you.]

I don’t know if I already addressed this and am only getting to this post now, but two things are potentially wrong:

1. HOW you teach your kids
2. WHAT you teach your kids

MickRuggieri said...

Lance,

I have read your posts, and while I can respect your views as it relates to raising Children and imparting faith as (Fundamentally Wrong), it leads to me to even greater questions.

Assuming you are an atheists (based on your posts), you must acknowledge that you do not believe (or in the tradition of Antony Flew) see no reason to believe in a Deity.

As such, while you have certainly offered an opinion on the matter, you must also acknowledge that according to your own world view, you do not believe there is an objective reality outside of ourselves, according to your own philosophy, that dictates what is true, moral, and correct.

Since your view is not based on an objective universal law, but is based on a subjective view, based on how you interpret reality, on what objective basis can you make the claim that imparting faith on children is a moral wrong? Second Question: On what objective basis can you claim to have a superior view?

So far, you have only given us epistemological claims about your psychological state, and nothing about the nature of ontological truth.

Can you understand why we might have some issues with what you are proposing?

BenYachov said...

>No. Teaching someone there probably isn’t a god is perfectly fine.

BDK once said he is not an Atheist who lacks belief in God. He believes there is no God.

But you are still teaching them it is absolutely true that we may only know what is probably true.

Which still violates your principle.

which is incoherent.

B. Prokop said...

"Teaching them specific doctrines would be harmful to children" (word order altered for clarity)

There! He's said it. All you who have previously accused believers of over-reacting to the gnus, who tell us not to worry, that no one is threatening to turn the USA into Pyongyang... there you have it. The smoking gun.

I'll repeat what I wrote on an earlier thread. I have no quarrel with atheists. But with atheism I most certainly do. It must be countered and rebutted at every opportunity. Atheism as a societal norm has tragically proven itself over and over again to be Hell on Earth.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov

[No religion can claim to be the ultimate truth & it is always wrong to teach any religion is the ultimate truth especially children.

The problem is you are advocating forcing the above dogma on the rest of us Theist and Atheist alike.]

Please quote me where I said I advocate FORCING this view on others. I’ve so far only spoken of what I think is right and wrong, not what I think may be legitimately forced upon others. To the extent that I HAVE commented on that, I’ve suggested that it would be difficult, impossible, or overridingly objectionable to implement policies to force religious views on people.

So again, I am simply not advocating what you say I am advocating, and again, I have already pointed this out a dozen times now. You continue to attribute views to me which I do not hold. How you can possibly be this confused is incredible to me.

Here’s my position:

Teaching children religious bunk is wrong.

Teaching children dogmatically is wrong.

I don’t know whether there should be laws implemented to prevent either.

Both of those may be worse in some instances than child sexual abuse.

Which part of that are you confused about?

[The only reasonable view is Natural Law. Atheists may teach their children Atheism, other religions may teach their children their religion and those of us who belong to the True Religion(Catholicism) may teach our children the truth.]

I disagree; parents should teach facts supported by evidence to their children, and they should teach them how to reason. Since it is a fact that Christianity is irrational, and that belief in god is irrational, parents really ought to teach this to their children, but they should not do so dogmatically, and they should teach them to evaluate the arguments for themselves and draw their own conclusions. Atheists don’t do anything wrong in teaching children that religion is baloney. All instances of teaching a child religion are at least somewhat wrong for teaching children ridiculous irrational baloney. What is so complicated about this?

[We Catholics are mature enough to practice practical tolerance.]

I don’t think tolerating child abuse is “mature”.

[We know nobody should be forced to accept the truth and they may naturally impart the what they believe to be true to their children since they are the guardians of them by nature.]

Nature doesn’t endow guardianship over children. I don’t accept this to be the case. If a parent does a worse job than an adoptive parent, the adoptive parent should do the parenting. Being a child’s birth parent doesn’t entitle you to raise them. How “natural” conventional parenting seems to you has nothing to do with what I would argue would be right or wrong – obviously you disagree, but your position is not self-evident.

[Even Atheist can apply this after all you all believe Atheism is the self evident truth]

I don’t believe atheism is self-evident.

[God forbid any of my children should when they grow up choose to be Atheists. But if that happens I want them to be rational not irrational like you]

Can you at least teach them not to be nasty and insult random strangers on the internet, please? I do not believe I have insulted you, and if I have, I apologize. I would hope you could extend a similar courtesy to me. So far, you’ve been extremely nasty with me, and I truly hope you aren’t imparting such nastiness on your children.

BenYachov said...

>1. HOW you teach your kids

You use reason, philosophy, logic, science, patience and charity.


>2. WHAT you teach your kids

What you believe to be true using the above criteria.

MickRuggieri said...

Lance,

Isn't the following statements that you made based on a presupposition? Or possibly a faulty premise?

"Since it is a fact that Christianity is irrational, and that belief in god is irrational,"

I don't see that to be a fact, I see that to be a statement more about your internal psychological state than something that has been demonstrated as fact.

While I can appreciate your view, (A view I held for many years), It warrants further examination.

BenYachov said...

Lance we have no common ground for discussion.

For example:

>Teaching children religious bunk is wrong.

Teaching children Atheist or relativist bunk is wrong.

But I don't believe any rights are violated if you teach your children Atheist and relativist bunk.

Why do you? Rights are either natural or political.

BenYachov said...

>Teaching children dogmatically is wrong.

Which is either itself a dogma or it is meaningless.

Lance Bush said...

Crude

[The problem is that nothing, absolutely nothing, singles out 'religion' in the defensible statement. In fact it would speak against Christianity, since at least in the case of (say) YECs, they are not knowingly teaching their children falsehoods: they are teaching them what they believe, rightly or wrongly, to be true.]

Yes, actually it does. My position is that

1. It is wrong to teach falsehoods to children
2. It is wrong to teach children dogmatically

Since religion is, I’ll add

3. A repository of falsehoods and a promoter of teaching children dogmatically
4. Is a repository of falsehood and dogmatism uniquely defended by virtue of belonging under the label “religious”

These points render it especially worthy of singling out. Islam and Christianity are massive compilations of utterly false drivel coupled with the promoting the notion that believing in the absence of evidence is virtuous – “faith”. Religions qualify as perhaps the epitome of meeting the qualifications for what I consider abusive parenting content and styles.

You add this: “And the list of 'harmful falsehoods' would in no way be limited to religion, nor even biased towards religion given the data we have on this front - forgetting, for a moment, that an atheist's opinion of what is an obvious falsehood doesn't equate with something actually being such.”

I agree with the first part, that this list would not be limited to religion; my position does single out religion as the focus of these posts, but the reason why that is the case should be obvious; my position is definitely not limited to religion, though.

What I disagree with is that my position wouldn’t be biased against religion: it definitely would be. I think atheists tend to be wrong about a lot of things which they take to be obvious, but the position that there is inadequate rational justification for belief in god, the resurrection, the virgin birth, that Muhammad was really a prophet, souls, reincarnation, heaven, hell, etc. are all, while not self-evident, fairly obvious to a person who is being rational and understands what evidence and reason support or don’t support. That being said, I do take these to be unambiguous falsehoods. Christianity is about as plausible as belief in Thor and Poseidon, and deserves about as much intellectual merit (i.e. close to none).

Also, my position entails that it is wrong to teach falsehoods regardless of whether you are aware of it or not. Since religious falsehoods are particularly severe, particularly widespread, and particularly detrimental, while whatever falsehoods I’d impart on children would be wrongfully taught, it is far more wrong for a parent to teach their child fundamentalist Christianity. My position acknowledges that people teaching falsehoods think they are true; that’s not really relevant.

A parent who is sincerely racist is still wronging their child by bringing them up to be racist, after all.

You call my position a “turd”, but that turns on only a single objection you really have – that religion isn’t a repository of falsehoods and promoter of dogmatism. My position is not utterly changed by turning it into this:

1. It is wrong to teach children into ideologies ridden with falsehood
2. It is wrong to teach children dogmatically

If, in fact, 1 is principally comprised of religious views. I am asserting that this is, in fact, true. The moment that is conceded, and I think it ought to be, my position is in no way a “turd”. Religion is, I argue, a special category of ideology especially subject to falsehood and dogmatism. I’d love to see reasonable objections to that proposed here.

Tony Hoffman said...

: "We don't believe in [transubstantiation] based on "evidence" we believe in it based on authority."

Which makes your position worthy, in my estimation, of ridicule. So don't go blaming me when I point out that your claim amounts to special bleating.

BenY: "If you can show me given the metaphysics of Aristotle why something can't have a different substance inconsistent with it's perceived accidents/properties I would like to hear it."

Run back to the mothership of Aristotle and Thomism, Ben. Run!

Ben: "Also if you can show either "God does not exist" or "Jesus didn't rise from the dead" or go the Protestant rout "Jesus didn't found the Catholic Church" then I must doubt Transubstantiation."

The above statement just doesn't makes no sense to me; I don't know what it is you are trying to say.

Ben: "Catholics don't claim to know the Real Presence to be true by empirical analysis."

Right. So I find their claims to have an air of ridiculousness to them.

Ben: "Clowns like you and Dawkins are just to intellectually incompetent to learn any philosophy to challenge any of the above routs I gave you. So you attack tangent straw men. I have no respect for this level of stupidity."

Got it. I just find your claims to be meaningless. And although there are times when I do love me some Aristotle, and I think Deism is an interesting possibility, you also appear to make many claims that I think are worthy of ridicule. I just don't have the energy or time to point them out very often -- there are only so many hours in a day, and there appear to be soooo many Ben Yachovs.

Cheers.

Don Jindra said...

Lance,

I think you're pushing the issue way too hard. I don't think you'll ever succeed in equating religious upbringing to child abuse. The idea is preposterous to me even though I have no religious inclination myself. Anything can be abused. A radical of any sort can "abuse" his child with a radical upbringing. And that includes atheism. Filling a child full of hate for religion is no better than filling a child full of hate for sin or Satan. Convincing a child there are certain answers on this issue is wrong no matter where you stand on the issue. An atheist can fill a child with fear without ever calling on Hell to do it.

When my wife and I raised our sons I don't think I ever mentioned God one way or the other. We made a point of keeping our opinions on religion away from our kids. I thought it would be wrong to cast religion in a bad light or to build up atheism into some island of enlightenment which it clearly is not. They knew we weren't religious in any way, and they knew we didn't think it was needed in any way. But I don't think we ever had a conversation about it. We even sent our sons to vacation bible school one summer because it would be just as wrong to insulate them entirely from the culture they would have to eventually deal with. All we ever told them was to use their own heads -- don't believe everything an adult tells you.

BenYachov said...

>Can you at least teach them not to be nasty and insult random strangers on the internet, please?
I do not believe I have insulted you, and if I have, I apologize. I would hope you could extend a similar courtesy to me. So far, you’ve been extremely nasty with me, and I truly hope you aren’t imparting such nastiness on your children.

Then I apologize unequivocally.

But we still don't have common ground for discussion.

MickRuggieri said...

Actually Lance,

Technically, a virgin birth is possible, science calls it parthenogenesis. It is just highly improbable in humans.

And while technically, the offspring would have to be female, some females do have X/Y Chromosomes.

So I wouldn't be confident completely ruling this out from even a solely secular perspective based only on the scientific evidence.

BenYachov said...

>I think you're pushing the issue way too hard. I don't think you'll ever succeed in equating religious upbringing to child abuse. The idea is preposterous to me even though I have no religious inclination myself.

That djindra and I are on the same page is scary.

But stranger things have happened.

BenYachov said...

>Convincing a child there are certain answers on this issue is wrong no matter where you stand on the issue.

Now you lost me because how is that not equating religious upbringing with child abuse?

OTOH if you me "wrong" in the sense I think teaching a child atheism is wrong(because I believe it to be in error) then I have no beef.

Ephram said...

Since it is a fact that Christianity is irrational...

A fact? Really? If so, I'd like to know when, where, how, and by whom this "fact" was demonstrated.

Not holding my breath, though, and one can't help but wonder what's going through the cranial vaults of people such as yourself who stumble into a predominantly Christian blog, casually assert - without any argument, and almost as an aside - that Christianity is false, and expect your assertion to be gobbled up hook, line, and sinker...by a crowd of intelligent Christians nonetheless.

BenYachov said...

Lance,

"Wrong" is a moral statement.

"error" is not.

You clearly equivocate the two.

It is not "wrong" to teach error if you don't know it is error.

At best it's a tragedy.

BenYachov said...

Wow djindra and I partly agree!

I'm still stunned!

Don Jindra said...

BenYachov.

"OTOH if you me 'wrong' in the sense I think teaching a child atheism is wrong(because I believe it to be in error) then I have no beef."

It's not precisely what I mean but it's close enough. I was certainly wrong about a lot when raising our sons. I sure hope we will never come to the day when being fallible is seen as child abuse.

BenYachov said...

@Lance

>1. It is wrong to teach children into ideologies ridden with falsehood.

Begs the question. How do you determine what is false vs true?

If you dogmatically decree it's science alone (sans philosophy, logic, math & other means of non-empirical investigation) well that Positivist philosophy can't be proven true scientifically thus it fails the test of itself.

AG Flew abandoned this nonsense at the height of his Atheism in the 50's.


>2. It is wrong to teach children dogmatically.

Wrong is a moral statement. But moral statements by nature have dogmatic force.

How do you teach the above moral principle non-dogmatically?

You really can't do it coherently.

B. Prokop said...

Tony,

Ben sometimes uses words and phrases that I wouldn't, but I think I see what he's driving at. Let me re-phrase the issue in my own terminology:

I believe in Transubstantiation on the authority of Jesus Christ. This doctrine is straight out of His mouth - first in John Chapter 6 (the "Bread of Life" discourse) and then at the Last Supper ("This is my body... This is my blood"). Now, why do I accept the authority of Christ? Totally different question. The answer involves examining the Gospels and deciding on the evidence whether or not they are trustworthy. Once that has been determined (and not before), then one can accept a statement within said Gospels as trustworthy, on the authority of the Evangelists.

See? There's an evidentiary chain here. Just as with my best friend. I trust he'll tell me the truth. Why? Because he has a proven track record of truthfulness. It would take extraordinary circumstances for me to doubt his word.

Now in your case, you make the claim "the further it is examined[,] Transubstantiation seems more and more ridiculous". You have yet to answer my question. Just how have you "further examined" the doctrine? I'll wager you haven't. You've decided out of the starting gate that you don't believe it, and I'll bet Romney's 10,000 dollars that you have never once bothered with any "further examination".

Might one say that your opinion is "worthy of ridicule"?

Don Jindra said...

BenYachov,

"But moral statements by nature have dogmatic force."

I'm not so sure about that. I think most of them are based on experience, more specifically, on how human interactions makes us feel. Feelings are not dogmatic by nature.

BenYachov said...

In hindsight I think I was too harsh to Lance.

So I repeat my unequivocal apology to him.

But I find many of his ideas incoherent but maybe it's because he isn't speaking a familiar language to me.

It seems to me before you debate you need to establish common ground.

Everybody should know by now what I think about Scientism and Positivism.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/03/1174

It's incoherent regardless if you think God exists or not.

BenYachov said...

>I'm not so sure about that. I think most of them are based on experience, more specifically, on how human interactions makes us feel. Feelings are not dogmatic by nature.

I don't think it matters where the moral statement comes from.

Your feelings? God's Command? Common sense? Natural law? Common consent, Social contract etc...

Once you start saying something is right or wrong you are making an absolutist moral claim.

Lance should replace his use of the word "moral" with error then he might sound more coherent & I might agree with him more.

Crude said...

You call my position a “turd”, but that turns on only a single objection you really have – that religion isn’t a repository of falsehoods and promoter of dogmatism.

Not an objection I raised, and the turdness of your position turns on far more than that. I said you've got an idiotic argument, riddled with problems that I've highlighted, and which you have no adequate response to. As with my Deepak example, you're riffing on data you are pulling out of your ass. 'Sexual abuse is not as harmful as people popularly take it to be' gets you not an iota closer to 'religious upbringing is child abuse, and is worse than sexual abuse'.

Now, I would argue - point out, really - that 'religion' is not some singular 'repository of falsehoods and promoter of dogmatism'. Plenty of entirely secular, non-religious ideas and groups are entirely capable of the same, or worse, excesses of the worst religious extremes. See: the Cultists of Gnu. See, oddly enough, yourself.

Keep whining that I should take you and your argument seriously. Until you provide something that isn't based on ass-pulls of data and mere assertions, I'll keep pointing out what a joke your argument is (even if you camp at the computer and respond to each and every reply frantically, with very little content but a good helping o' verbiage), and moving on.

I suggest you reply in 3 parts, each maxing out the blogger.com characters limit. It will not make your argument or conclusions here anything less than the aggregate turd I've pointed it out as being.

BenYachov said...

I can accept it is an "error" to teach kids Atheism/Theism/whatever is true.

You can put forward whatever dogma you like. The person receiving it still has free will to accept or reject it.

You can teach your kids the way you feel is best and doesn't harm them.

Crude said...

Ben,

I can accept it is an "error" to teach kids Atheism/Theism/whatever is true.

On what grounds? Can you teach them that, say, you believe atheism/theism/whatever is true, and give your reasons, arguments, rationales etc for accepting said truth?

Because otherwise it seems like you'd have to, to be consistent, say that it's an "error" to teach a child that (say) evolution is true, and that the only real course of action is to teach that all conclusions can only be hold tentatively. (Including that conclusion itself?)

Put another way: is it an "error" to teach children that teaching that a belief is true, is itself an error?

BenYachov said...

>Also, my position entails that it is wrong to teach falsehoods regardless of whether you are aware of it or not.

If you are aware you are teaching falsehoods then by definition you are being deceptive. If you are not aware of it then you are merely in error. There is no "wrong" here in the moral sense.

I don't like djindra and he doesn't like me.

But even I can't say if he really believes there isn't a God that makes him morally wrong. He could merely be in error threw no fault of his own.

OTOH perhaps he could know but doesn't want too? But I would still have no clear way to know that is the case.

That is what Jesus meant when he said "Judge not!".

BenYachov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BenYachov said...

>Because otherwise it seems like you'd have to, to be consistent, say that it's an "error" to teach a child that (say) evolution is true, and that the only real course of action is to teach that all conclusions can only be hold tentatively. (Including that conclusion itself?)

You are right but I am trying to correct Lance when he equivocates between "error" vs "morally wrong".

One problem at a time.

Crude said...

Ben,

Fair enough. Just sorting out your thoughts here.

Lance Bush said...

Hi Don Jindra

I do not believe I am pushing the issue. I’m not “equating” religion upbringings with child abuse, I’m saying that it falls under and is a type of child abuse. I take “child abuse” to be, broadly speaking, any actions taken on the part of a parent which are significantly detrimental to the wellbeing of the child over the course of their life. This would include physical and psychological abuse of any kind, and I believe it’s not even very difficult to make the case that the way many children are brought up with religion is not even controversially abusive to anyone who is thinking about the situation clearly – I also am quite aware that people disagree with that. That’s fine. I am not presenting this argument with the insistence that you or anyone else agree, and my initial obstinance is largely based on people being overly dismissive – I don’t think my arguments should be dismissed out of hand.

My position turns on more fundamental ethical views. I’m a consequentialist – I believe what is ethical is whatever promotes the most wellbeing overall. I do not believe it is in a child’s best interests to be brought up to be religious, nor do I believe it is in society’s interests. Obviously, religious people disagree. But I think that religious ethics are both ridiculous and bad for society; that we are having debates over abortion and gay marriage, and these turn almost exclusively on what I’d argue are savage or ridiculous religious notions, is one indicator I’d use to support this.

Religion’s effects are more pernicious than this though, and far more pervasive. What unifies my conception of “religion” is that they share a common epistemological basis: belief in the absence of rational justification. Religions are, generally speaking, not rationally defensible, and yet they are foisted upon children generation after generation. Catholicism has helped perpetuate inordinate suffering in the world, for instance, and society would be markedly better off were it not taught nonsense about witches, sexual guilt, subordination of women, respect for the authority of the church, and so on.

[Anything can be abused. A radical of any sort can "abuse" his child with a radical upbringing. And that includes atheism.]

That’s absolutely true, and I’m affirmed this in posts above.

[Convincing a child there are certain answers on this issue is wrong no matter where you stand on the issue.]

If you read my posts here, you’ll see that this is a point I’ve been reiterating repeatedly; it’s just my position has been misconstrued and warped over and over in responses to it.

I also completely agree that atheism is definitely not an “island of enlightenment”. I agree with a lot of the negative things said about atheist groups and many atheists here, actually, but people here have been so unilaterally hostile, vicious, and unreasonable, that it’s very difficult for me to express an opinion without being immediately attacked in extremely caustic ways. I’m disappointed, to say the least.

[All we ever told them was to use their own heads -- don't believe everything an adult tells you.]

Kudos to you – that is the position that I am favoring here. I am advocate of not foisting your opinions on your children in an overly coercive way, and instead encouraging them to use their own heads. That’s more or less it; I just also happen to think that this has the consequence that forcing religion on your child is unethical. For instance, I think it is unethical to send a child to a Catholic school where they receive compulsory religious education instructing them in the absolute truth of Catholicism even if the child objects, and especially if the parent refuses to permit the child to study other religions. Do you not agree that this is objectionable?

Lance Bush said...

[Then I apologize unequivocally.]

Thank you. I really appreciate that. I would like to have a civil discussion and I think you would, too. I also understand that you may sincerely believe that I support totalitarian views, and if you do believe that, I understand why you would be hostile. If I thought someone was in support of Mao/Hitler/Stalinistic views, I would not be very nice to that person, nor would I take them very seriously. But I must reiterate: I do not support totalitarian or invasive views. I may be wrong in the principles I am defending here, but I love liberty quite a bit, and utterly condemn governments which destroy the lives and invade the privacy of their citizens.

You are right that we may not have common ground for discussion. But then again, we might. I think we may be able to find some, if we speak to one another civilly and dig at what our core principles are.

I’ll share a little bit about my own views, so that this may be possible. I believe that the best ethical system – not necessarily the “correct” one, but I merely stipulate that I personally regard it as the best, is a consequentialist system dedicated to increase wellbeing in the world. In simple terms, I want the most people everywhere to be as happy as possible. I’ve been a civil rights, peace, environmental, and justice activist for many years now, and have supported campaigns promoting free expression, education, clean water, charitable donations, tax reform, and so on.

I really care about making the world a better place, I think most Christians do too, and I think there is plenty of ground we agree on. For instance, I will happily work with Christians in Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for people who need them. I believe compassion and love for others – whoever they are – to be some of the highest virtues, and I will happily set aside other differences to work together to promote the global good. If that isn’t a common ground that we share, then I’m not sure what could be, because I suspect you too share these principles, at least.

I say all this understanding that it is very easy to assume the people you run across online are immature teenagers with an axe to grind; I could be that, and I could just be here to troll people and make stupid arguments. In this case, even if it’s true that my arguments are stupid, I am not of that disposition, and I am quite happy to, eager even, to entertain serious arguments about why my position is mistaken. I am even willing to entertain arguments that fall outside the domain of this discussion. If any Christians here would like to present a case that Christianity is true, or promotes the best ethical system, I would happily entertain them. I have gone to several churches here in Florida to actively engage with Christians – Calvary Chapel in Ft. Lauderdale, the Potential church, and New Horizon Methodist, just to name a few. I maintain good religions with pastors and ministers as well. One of them is named Norman Wise, who I regularly interact with. I have a sincere desire to engage with Christians and have a civil dialog with them.

So I would ask you and the others here to please take my claims, however absurd or objectionable you find them, to be ones made from sincere convictions, and to address them with that in mind. I have done that for you, and I have tried my best to remain civil. I expect no less from Christians. If anything, I actually came here expecting less absurdity and nastiness than I find in discussions with atheists, who frequently upset me. For instance, one commenter above posted some comments by PZ Myers; I agree with much of what they said about him.

BenYachov said...

>I do not believe I am pushing the issue. I’m not “equating” religion upbringings with child abuse, I’m saying that it falls under and is a type of child abuse.

Weasel words? Distinctions without differences?

"I'm not saying you are a rapist. I am saying you use force, threat or coercion to make people submit to you sexually against their will."

If you say X is a type of child abuse then by definition you are equating X with child abuse.

BenYachov said...

>You are right that we may not have common ground for discussion. But then again, we might. I think we may be able to find some, if we speak to one another civilly and dig at what our core principles are.

We agree on this so I am going to pull back on bagging on you a little.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov

BenYachov

[>Teaching children religious bunk is wrong.


Teaching children Atheist or relativist bunk is wrong.]

I probably agree with you. Relativism IS bunk, and I don’t know what atheist views you would teach children which are bunk, since I tend to use “atheism” just to refer to not believing in god. Can you be more specific about which atheist views are bunk?

[But I don't believe any rights are violated if you teach your children Atheist and relativist bunk.

Why do you? Rights are either natural or political.]

I don’t believe in natural rights; I was referring to political rights, though I think political rights can be defended on ethical grounds (apart from appeals to natural rights, that is).

I had thought my position on this was clear, but I’ll try to restate it. I believe that a parent has a moral obligation to act so as to try to maximize their child’s wellbeing, and I believe that instructing them to maintain views based on faith and to maintain views which are irrational is inconsistent with this. Because I also believe that religious beliefs are maintained based on faith and are irrational, I believe that teaching a child religion is inconsistent with maximizing their potential wellbeing. Thus, I think teaching children religion is wrong.

[Which is either itself a dogma or it is meaningless.]

This is a false dichotomy. “Dogma” or “meaningless” are not the only two logical possibilities for one’s position. For instance, I believe that koalas are marsupials. This is not a meaningless assertion, nor is it a dogmatic one.

BenYachov said...

>I understand why you would be hostile. If I thought someone was in support of Mao/Hitler/Stalinistic views.

That and you are expressing your thoughts so badly even if that is not your intention.

Example:I understand why you would be hostile. If I thought someone was in support of Mao/Hitler/Stalinistic views.

I'm sorry but that looks like the same thing.

B. Prokop said...

"I want the most people everywhere to be as happy as possible. I’ve been a civil rights, peace, environmental, and justice activist for many years now, and have supported campaigns promoting free expression, education, clean water, charitable donations, tax reform, and so on. I really care about making the world a better place, ... I believe compassion and love for others – whoever they are – to be some of the highest virtues, and I will happily set aside other differences to work together to promote the global good."

Where are you, Ilion, when we need you? Why haven't you chimed in here yet?

BenYachov said...

>I don’t believe in natural rights; I was referring to political rights, though I think political rights can be defended on ethical grounds (apart from appeals to natural rights, that is).


That is where we radically differ. Unless we have natural rights we will always be vulnerable to Totalitarianism.

>This is a false dichotomy. “Dogma” or “meaningless” are not the only two logical possibilities for one’s position. For instance, I believe that koalas are marsupials. This is not a meaningless assertion, nor is it a dogmatic one.

What is a dogma but an indisputable truth? Koalas are marsupials. They cannot be fish or reptiles.

Crude said...

Bob,

Where are you, Ilion, when we need you? Why haven't you chimed in here yet?

I don't know why you're trying to draw Ilion into this, but I have to say: I'm not impressed by the bit you quoted. When someone is stating that all religion is bunk and not supported by reason, and that they think the state should be able to keep children from being brought up with religious ideals, "but I detest Stalin" doesn't - as Ben noted, I believe - suddenly make their views any less repugnant.

If someone from NAMBLA rolls in here, the crap they're preaching doesn't get fumigated by their noting that they care deeply about the welfare of children and labor tirelessly on their behalf.

Lance Bush said...

BenYachov

["Wrong" is a moral statement. […] "error" is not. […]You clearly equivocate the two. […]It is not "wrong" to teach error if you don't know it is error […].At best it's a tragedy.]

I don’t think I’m equivocating between the two; that would imply that I was deliberately shifting the definitions in an erroneous way. If I have done that please point out where and I will admit the error and/or concede that position to be in error or modify my position accordingly.

As it happens though, I don’t believe that being in ignorance that you are teaching a child errors vindicates your actions. In other words, I disagree with this: “It is not "wrong" to teach error if you don't know it is error.” I think it still can be; I’m not saying that ALL instances of teaching a child an error are unethical, but I believe that some of them are. I can get specific if you wish, so I hope I will not be immediately accused of saying something too vague. I think I’ve said enough here to justify my preemptively insisting that any accusations that I’m not developing my positions enough to be pretty dubious – I’ll develop them in as much detail as necessary to make my point.

[Begs the question. How do you determine what is false vs true?]

You are of course completely right that I’d be begging the question were I to insist on that being both a premise you must accept and a conclusion you must accept. But I have to start with some stipulations somewhere, and this happens to be my position.

In other words, I’m not just insisting that religions are false; I’m also willing to argue why I think that.

[But moral statements by nature have dogmatic force. How do you teach the above moral principle non-dogmatically? You really can't do it coherently.]


First, I disagree that moral statements "by nature have dogmatic force". I do believe they are uttered with a force similar to this, but I would argue against it being "dogmatic". Rather, I'd argue that moral statements by nature have a "prescriptively binding" force; that is, by virtue of the manner in which moral statements are typically employed, they imply that a person is obligated to act on account of those moral statements.

However, I take "dogma" to entail some sort of authoritative force which may not be questioned. The problem with saying that moral statements have "dogmatic force" is that while the moral claims, to the extent that they would be true, are objectively binding on people (i.e., if you disagree with a moral fact, you are wrong), any moral statements which I make are always uttered with the implicit acknowledgment on my part that the particular moral claim I am making, while I take it to be true, could be wrong, and that, furthermore, I am not a final authority or infallible source of moral truth. So the manner in which I deliver moral claims is simply not dogmatic - that would require that I think such moral claims cannot be questioned and are settled beyond dispute.

That being said, I think we are perfectly capable of teaching children moral precepts and teaching those children to question those precepts. I frequently make a point to acknowledge that history has shown that the moral views held in any given century are typically backwards by the standards of future centuries, and that is almost certainly the case with the present century. A thousand years from now, the moral views you or I profess now will be seen as, at least in part, backwards and outdated. If acknowledging that, and encouraging children to think about and question ethics, is consistent with teaching them "dogmatically", then you're using that term in a way that I am unfamiliar with.

Lance Bush said...

Hi MikeRuggieri

I was referring specifically to the virgin birth purported to be a miraculous event in the life of Jesus Christ, not to virgin births in general. I’m well aware of parthenogenesis; in fact, I’ve studied it quite a bit. I’m familiar with, for instance and in particular, whiptail lizards, some species of which have only females and which only reproduce parthenogenically.

That being said, I had thought the context was clear enough that it was obvious I was only referring to miraculous virgin births in humans, not virgin birth in general.

BenYachov said...

@Tony Hoffman

Bitching about transubstantiation to me is about as reasonable as me bitching to a Mormon on THE WORD OF WISDOM.

Logically if I was to dispute with a Mormon we should take on his belief the Church Jesus founded fell away vs my belief it has not fallen away.

Majoring is the minors is just intellectually lazy much like you.

BenYachov said...

>I don’t think I’m equivocating between the two; that would imply that I was deliberately shifting the definitions in an erroneous way.

I could concede you don't mean to do it but you are in fact doing it.

So stop it please for both our sakes.

BenYachov said...

>I don’t believe that being in ignorance that you are teaching a child errors vindicates your actions.

That is neither fair nor rational.

Gor some things ignorance isn't an excuse I agree. But even we Catholics believe God won't hold the non-belief of invincibly ignorance persons as sin.

As early as 300 years ago Pope Alexander VIII condemned the Jansinists for claiming you could.

Doesn't it bother you that what you are giving me here is an Atheist Jansenism?

Think about it.

BenYachov said...

>If I have done that please point out where and I will admit the error and/or concede that position to be in error or modify my position accordingly.

Lance if you willfully teach what you know to be error or teach what you could know to be error but refuse to investigate if you have a legitimate doubt then you can be morally faulted for teaching error.

BenYachov said...

>However, I take "dogma" to entail some sort of authoritative force which may not be questioned.

You can't question the dogma without denying the greater truth on which rests the dogma.

I can't coherently say Catholicism is true but Transubstantiation is false.

So if I accept Catholicism I must accept the dogmas.

If you wish to question the core foundational truths and convince me it's false. Such as the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus or if Jesus founded the Catholic Church. That is legit.

But it is not reasonable for you to try to make me a Catholic who denies Transubstantiation.

That is absurd.

rank sophist said...

This combox has gone huge.

First, I'll reply to Tony.

I don't believe that mundane observations require expert attestation. If you disagree that my mundane observation is incorrect, you could explain why.

Mundane observations don't require "expert attestation", but neither do they require refutation, nor argument. Bald assertions are meaningless. I have no reason to respond to yours.

So, to indict Dawkins et al. you choose to quote someone who tells you what they are all saying. I guess there's no need to, you know, look at what they actually say and do, and view those statements in context, etc. If it seems fair to you to amplify and distort their most provocative statements, and demonize them on this assessment alone, then you do not appear interested in a discussion about the ideas that they raise.

"Left speechless and without a defense, Tony resorts to changing the subject."

I think that raising children as New Atheists is worse than raising them locked up in a basement. Both create insular, dysfunctional children, but New Atheism advocates hate and violence on top of that. Are you disgusted by this suggestion? Do you choose to avoid talking about it? Well, don't go demonizing me for it! That just shows that you're not interested in a serious conversation.

Ha. Well, when you take out the "deed" part I think you've pretty much described virtually every public figure of the last 50 years with that statement. But, of course, you'd like to imply that Dawkins et al. are just one brief power struggle away from becoming mass murderers... What should we do about that, I wonder? What should one do with those who, given the chance, would kill us all? What would be the right thing, I'm sure you're just wondering out loud...

The right thing would be to inform their followers of the relevant historical facts before they repeat them. Of course, as a Gnu yourself, it's understandable that you would project your side's own semi-Maoist behavior on the opposition.

Mundane observation again. I do not believe that expert attestation is required for the mundane. The sky appears blue is a mundane observation.

Congratulations; you just begged the question. That "the sky is blue" is as uncontroversial as "transubstantiation is ridiculous" is exactly what is at issue.

Partly explained above. For my part, I tend not to pay attention or reply to comments that do not address what I see as the principal issue.

Your explanation involved repeating your bald assertions while at least once begging the question.

Let's suppose I said, "I think that New Atheists are dumb. Prove me wrong!" How would you respond? You would, of course, ignore me. Perhaps you would ask me to build a case for my opinion before you bothered to respond. Perfectly reasonable reactions.

Crude said...

Ben,

I don't think it's totally correct to say such a belief "isn't based on evidence". There's evidence for the authority existence, for the trustworthiness of that authority, and for the knowledge of that authority. That and other arguments and evidence works to make it acceptable to accept such and such teaching.

And most people accept that sort of evidence as well. Plenty will grant and accept various claims, scientific and not, that they've not seen the direct evidence for, based on the trust of those they presume know and communicated it. In fact, sometimes direct evidence isn't even possible and they still accept the authority. (See the various physicist discussions recently.)

rank sophist said...

You’re welcome to hold a position contrary to the data, or, if you have access to scientific data I’m unaware of which trumps what I’ve presented here, I will be happy to hear it. I am not emotionally invested in a position which I frankly concede seems rather weird – I just tend to support views corroborated by evidence.

You should tell that to a victim. Maybe you could phone Mary J. Blige or Queen Latifah and inform them that their abuse as children was really not all that bad.

Honestly, what you're saying scares me. This is the same kind of disconnect-from-reality that allowed communist dictators to massacre by the millions. You're more interested in the statistics than the people themselves.

If a parent raises their child to be religious in a manner that violates their religious freedom, then that is wrong. It would also be wrong for a parent to indoctrinate their child in any ideology which did not include a belief in god. I’m against parents indoctrinating children and pushing them to believe in things in a way harmful to the child’s life prospects – if that comes in the form of religious or nonreligious beliefs, I don’t really care, I object to both, and I think you should, too.

I'm against systems that involve the government in every minute detail of child-rearing. It's none of their business. Now, if parents are locking their children in single rooms for their entire lives, then the government should probably do something about it. But, seeing as there's no evidence to suggest that this is in any way comparable to raising a child under an ideology, I don't see how this means that I should endorse the totalitarian idea you propose.

I believe parents ought to raise their children with secular ethical values (not “atheist” values, I don’t even know what that would entail), and to teach them about all the world’s religions and the fact that some people don’t follow a religion.

This is gutted parenting, and it would require constant state tests to guarantee that the "law" was being enforced. Parents should be allowed to raise their children as hardcore racists--even as Neo-Nazis--if that floats their boat. They should be allowed to raise their children as New Atheists, as fundamentalists and as Muslim extremists. Why? Because we live in a free country that does not keep parents at an arm's length from their children. I would find it unfortunate if any of those things occurred, but I would never, ever suggest government intervention.

If this is intended to be an argument it hasn’t reached the level of being a very convincing one. Making vague allusions to people’s phraseology sounding reminiscent of Hitler is a poor excuse for a reasoned rebuttal. I do not support totalitarian dictatorships.

Are you familiar with the term "wiggle word"? Because that's what those are. They're vague, bendable words and phrases that can be used to mean anything. In law, they're considered bad--and, in this case, they would give a government almost limitless power to oppress at will.

rank sophist said...

Well I said it, so I suppose says me. Every position I take up here won’t necessarily have data to support it, the same as anyone else’s . I take it as a plausible conclusion that childhood indoctrination, that is, teaching a child that certain beliefs are absolutely and unquestionably true, and that to believe anything else is “sinful”, impairs a child’s capacity to think clearly and rationally.

Since this is one of your key points, and you have no argument for it, I think it can safely be ignored.

Requesting definitions for words that are used in a non-technical way is a method of distracting from productive dialog. I mean whatever the general understanding of critical thinking is, and nothing more.

I'm requesting definitions to draw out statements like this one: "whatever the general understanding of critical thinking is". Do you have any idea of what you just said? You just gave the government full rights to define "critical thinking" in any way they please. "Critical thinking" now means "submission to the government in all things"; it means "acknowledging scientology as the one true religion"; and infinite other possibilities. I'm reminded of Planet of the Apes--the scene in which Dr. Zaius "proves" that Taylor is a non-rational animal simply by defining "rational" in a way that excludes Taylor.

rank sophist said...

If they should intervene in the case of religious indoctrination, then yes, they should also intervene in these instances as well. But since I’m not at all sure that governments ought to be empowered to do this, I’m not sure either ought to be legally prohibited from doing it.

There's hope for you yet.

That being said, I’m not suggesting any programs in particular, but to the extent that my position might entail certain “programs”, they would not be identical to those of Soviet Russia, which were invasive, dogmatic, ideologically held, vicious, brutal, and straightforwardly not in the interests of children.

Yes, they were. But any program you could imagine would become that way in practice.

I favor whatever policies that protect children’s liberties and foster healthy development. Do you think the policies of Soviet Russia did that? I don’t, so why on earth would my position be “almost identical” to those?

The required kind of intervention would foster the same abuse. You would have to give the government untold rights over its people if you were to support such a system. And, as they say, "absolute power corrupts absolutely". The Soviets thought that they were acting for the benefit of future generations. They thought that they were saving their country. Look what happened.

Yes. Any religion that teaches children that the Garden of Eden was an historical event (some forms of Christianity), that evolution is a lie (many religions), that infidels will burn forever in hellfire (Islam) is teaching ignorance and falsehood, as these both conflict with scientific evidence or utterly fail to be supported by any credible evidence at all and are therefore irrational to believe.

You know that hope I thought there was for you? It's gone. You have based your standard of "irrational" on the statement "unsupported by scientific evidence". You know what else is unsupported by scientific evidence? Qualia, free will and morality. Do you have any idea what a government could do with this? Any at all?

Furthermore, many religions also promote bigotry. To the extent that the Abrahamic faiths endorse moral opposition to homosexuality, I see no moral difference between this and opposition to interracial marriage. It is simply bigotry.

Bald assertion.

Suppose for a moment that you fully endorsed the moral views I present here. Would you trust the U.S. government to implement them in a way you would actually approve of? I would not.

I would not trust any government at any time in history to implement them without abuse. This is because abuse is written right into the system. It would be almost impossible to enforce these laws without abuse, because they're so vague and so invasive.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

I called upon the ghost of Ilion (much, I suppose, as Dr. Faustus called upon Beelzebub), because the conversation initiated by Lance began in the gutter and proceeded from there to the sewer. I just figured that was Ilion's natural turf.

Lance complained that we weren't treating him fairly. I wanted him to see what a real working over felt like.

Morrison said...

Anybody notice that John is now offering to speak for just expenses?

I told ya he was lying about quitting.

Crude said...

Bob,

Alright. Just seemed out of nowhere to me. Do as you will.

Tony Hoffman said...

Me: "I don't believe that mundane observations require expert attestation. If you disagree that my mundane observation is incorrect, you could explain why.
RS: "Mundane observations don't require "expert attestation", but neither do they require refutation, nor argument. Bald assertions are meaningless. I have no reason to respond to yours."
Since it seems you don't disagree, I would hope that you would explain why you think that a) a belief in evolutionary theory looks ridiculous following greater investigation, or that b) a belief in transubstantiation does not appear more ridiculous upon further investigation. I suspect that the reason you choose not to respond to my perfectly ordinary observation is that you would struggle to do this.
Me: "So, to indict Dawkins et al. you choose to quote someone who tells you what they are all saying. I guess there's no need to, you know, look at what they actually say and do, and view those statements in context, etc. If it seems fair to you to amplify and distort their most provocative statements, and demonize them on this assessment alone, then you do not appear interested in a discussion about the ideas that they raise."

RS: "Left speechless and without a defense, Tony resorts to changing the subject."
How is responding to a comment you addressed to me changing the subject? I thought to ignore your comments would be rude, so I responded to them all. If you did not wish to discuss your comments, you should maybe indicate as much. Ironically, you did not respond to the gist of my paragraph above, instead accusing me of changing the subject. Project much?

Tony Hoffman said...

RS: "I think that raising children as New Atheists is worse than raising them locked up in a basement. Both create insular, dysfunctional children, but New Atheism advocates hate and violence on top of that. Are you disgusted by this suggestion? Do you choose to avoid talking about it? Well, don't go demonizing me for it! That just shows that you're not interested in a serious conversation."
It's possible that the new atheists are dangerous totalitarians. It really is possible, and I am attentive to avoiding that outcome. I just hear that accusation a lot, but I haven't found the evidence that would demonstrate this assertion to be at all persuasive. Most of it reminds me of the stuff I hear about Obama wanting to turn us into a Nazi state, etc. Still, if you have better evidence and examples than I've heard so far, I'm all ears.

Me: "Ha. Well, when you take out the "deed" part I think you've pretty much described virtually every public figure of the last 50 years with that statement. But, of course, you'd like to imply that Dawkins et al. are just one brief power struggle away from becoming mass murderers... What should we do about that, I wonder? What should one do with those who, given the chance, would kill us all? What would be the right thing, I'm sure you're just wondering out loud...
RS: "The right thing would be to inform their followers of the relevant historical facts before they repeat them. Of course, as a Gnu yourself, it's understandable that you would project your side's own semi-Maoist behavior on the opposition."
And I am the one who you say makes bald assertions here. Hmmm.
Me: "Mundane observation again. I do not believe that expert attestation is required for the mundane. The sky appears blue is a mundane observation."
RS: "Congratulations; you just begged the question. That "the sky is blue" is as uncontroversial as "transubstantiation is ridiculous" is exactly what is at issue."
Begging the question is to assume what you are setting out to prove. Please point out how I have assumed what I have set out to prove in my quote above. I think I have a) expressed an observation, b) explained a rule I observe for arguments, and c) provided an example of why the rule is typically recognized and followed in arguments.

Me: "Partly explained above. For my part, I tend not to pay attention or reply to comments that do not address what I see as the principal issue."
RS: "Your explanation involved repeating your bald assertions while at least once begging the question."
Addressed above.
RS: "Let's suppose I said, "I think that New Atheists are dumb. Prove me wrong!" How would you respond? You would, of course, ignore me. Perhaps you would ask me to build a case for my opinion before you bothered to respond. Perfectly reasonable reactions."
Actually, if I thought you were capable of providing a good argument, I'd ask you for your definition of dumb, and see if you had any evidence for your argument. Even without your argument, providing that you gave a definition, I'd probably quickly address (provide some evidence) for why I think you are mistaken.

Papalinton said...

Crude

From PZ Myers, Yesterday I was listening to our Christian protesters outside, and I thought, “Huh. So that’s what you get when you give a sheep a microphone, amplified bleating.” There they were, calling on everyone to deny the richness of human experience and join the flock in the narrow boring confines of the sheep pen, so mindless they didn’t even realize they were calling to the wolves.

Now that is funny. How apt a description. The Shepherd, with the crook of Peter, rounding up and penning the flock. Sheep are what sheep do; they congregate.

An amusing analogy. ;o)

BenYachov said...

@Crude

>I don't think it's totally correct to say such a belief "isn't based on evidence".

Well Crude, Tony being a fanatical Gnu believes empirical Science alone constitutes "evidence". All explainations too him on the need for philosophy and such have gone in one ear and out the other.

Like the Protestant who believes the Bible alone is the word of God sans Tradition.

Sometimes being the benificient sort of guy I am ;-) I have to condicend to come down to his anti-philosophical level.

I can be rationally certain authorities chould be trusted for that which they are compotent. If Dawkins speaks on matters to which he is compotent (biology and the science of Evolution) I am more likely to trust him then not.

If God speaks of course to us Catholic threw his Church then we can trust it.

rank sophist said...

Since it seems you don't disagree, I would hope that you would explain why you think that a) a belief in evolutionary theory looks ridiculous following greater investigation, or that b) a belief in transubstantiation does not appear more ridiculous upon further investigation. I suspect that the reason you choose not to respond to my perfectly ordinary observation is that you would struggle to do this.

On the contrary, you have made no argument that needs to be refuted, and so I have no reason to provide a counter argument. If you can give me an argument that shows transubstantiation to be ridiculous, then feel free to post it. I know that you're desperate to bait me into a stupid debate on your terms, but I've seen too many Gnus to fall for that one.

How is responding to a comment you addressed to me changing the subject? I thought to ignore your comments would be rude, so I responded to them all. If you did not wish to discuss your comments, you should maybe indicate as much. Ironically, you did not respond to the gist of my paragraph above, instead accusing me of changing the subject. Project much?

Everything that you wrote was a red herring. I quoted someone else who paraphrased Dawkins and Harris! I must not be interested in a debate on the issues they raised. You were merely trying to push aside the utterly repulsive statements they had made.

And I am the one who you say makes bald assertions here. Hmmm.

You wrote:

But, of course, you'd like to imply that Dawkins et al. are just one brief power struggle away from becoming mass murderers... What should we do about that, I wonder? What should one do with those who, given the chance, would kill us all? What would be the right thing, I'm sure you're just wondering out loud...

Which suggests that I think they should be silenced. This, in fact, is not my belief. On the other hand, since Gnus love government intervention, it makes sense psychologically that a Gnu would project the same onto his opponent. I don't see where the bald assertion is.

Begging the question is to assume what you are setting out to prove. Please point out how I have assumed what I have set out to prove in my quote above. I think I have a) expressed an observation, b) explained a rule I observe for arguments, and c) provided an example of why the rule is typically recognized and followed in arguments.

You claimed that transubstantiation is ridiculous. You then compared the statement "transubstantiation is ridiculous" to the mundane statement "the sky looks blue", in order to show that no further argument was necessary. However, the "obvious ridiculousness" of transubstantiation is exactly what's at issue. In other words, you have assumed said ridiculousness in your attempt to prove it, and have therefore begged the question.

Actually, if I thought you were capable of providing a good argument, I'd ask you for your definition of dumb, and see if you had any evidence for your argument.

So you would expect me to present an argument rather than merely a series of bald assertions. Exactly.

rank sophist said...

Correction: assumed said obviousness in your attempt to prove it.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"Teaching them specific doctrines would be harmful to children" (word order altered for clarity)

There! He's said it. All you who have previously accused believers of over-reacting to the gnus, who tell us not to worry, that no one is threatening to turn the USA into Pyongyang... there you have it. The smoking gun.

I'll repeat what I wrote on an earlier thread. I have no quarrel with atheists. But with atheism I most certainly do. It must be countered and rebutted at every opportunity. Atheism as a societal norm has tragically proven itself over and over again to be Hell on Earth.


No, Bob. No smoking gun. No Pyongyang by a long chalk. Such foolish and ill-conceived hyperbole is unwarranted and somewhat immature. As do I, I have no quarrel with theists but with theism, the ideological -ism that underpins, and undoes what small amount of good that may be garnered from, religious thought.

It is disappointing to see you joining the race to the bottom with the other scavenger feeders on this site. You know perfectly well that Lance Bush's contribution to the debate has been cogent, level-headed and evenly balanced, without rancour.

All of which has been placed on the table has simply been a lost opportunity to the bible crazies, as their bellicose religiosity is a significant bar to reasoned discussion. Bush is not mandating state control on religious education of kids; indeed he is advocating presenting a wider and more inclusive form of religious education, one that fully reflects the reality of religious belief as is currently practiced by humanity. We are after all, singularly, all human beings, and every child has a right to know that religious belief can be rightly expressed in various and different ways, and that indeed there are people who do not subscribe to any form of supernatural deity. They are all honourable, decent people, wanting the best for their children. That is the wholesome and fair thing to do.

A case in point, my first child was baptised into the Lutheran church, my second into the Anglican Church [as it was the service available on Christmas Island where we lived, at the time of Baptism. Denominations rotated their services in the small community], and my third child was not baptised. There were no prescriptions set by us. We provided every opportunity for our children to determine how they wished to express their beliefs. There was no atheistic influence in my family, as my transition to atheism did not occur until well after the children were beyond their formative years. Inadvertent and fortuitous circumstances, to be sure, with no design or purpose to influence our children one way or the other.

Christians would do well to understand Lance Bush's perspective because it cuts beyond defending contrived territorial boundaries.
Surely that is reasonable?

Tony Hoffman said...

RS: "If you can give me an argument that shows transubstantiation to be ridiculous, then feel free to post it. I know that you're desperate to bait me into a stupid debate on your terms, but I've seen too many Gnus to fall for that one."

Okay, but I don't know why you'd think it's required; making transubstantiation seem ridiculous is trivial: Transubstantiation appears ridiculous because it is the belief that by eating otherwise ordinary bread (crackers) and wine those two substances then turn into the actual flesh and blood of a man who died 2,000 years ago.

My point isn't that this is worthy of ridicule because it sounds ridiculous (it does). It is worthy of ridicule because it sounds ridiculous and there is no evidence whatsoever supporting this. Hence, I think it's fair game to ridicule away.

RS: "Everything that you wrote was a red herring. I quoted someone else who paraphrased Dawkins and Harris! I must not be interested in a debate on the issues they raised. You were merely trying to push aside the utterly repulsive statements they had made."

And if you think that someone else's paraphrase of Dawkins et al. provided an entirely accurate reflection of their views and arguments, then you merely set up a straw man.

Here's a tip for you: it's entirely too common for theists to quote mine and paraphrase Dawkins et al. so as to misrepresent the gist of their arguments. You seem typically reluctant to relinquish this privilege of attacking a straw man. I am not interested in your arguments against straw men, so, yup, you've got me pegged there.

RS: I don't see where the bald assertion is."

I'll help you then. The part where I previously wrote "And I am the one who you say makes bald assertions here. Hmmm." was immediately following your comment:

RS: "Of course, as a Gnu yourself, it's understandable that you would project your side's own semi-Maoist behavior on the opposition."

The bald assertion part for me was where you assert that I belong to a side that behaves in a semi-Maoist way. Do you see it now?

Tony Hoffman said...

Me: "Begging the question is to assume what you are setting out to prove. Please point out how I have assumed what I have set out to prove in my quote above. I think I have a) expressed an observation, b) explained a rule I observe for arguments, and c) provided an example of why the rule is typically recognized and followed in arguments."
RS: "You claimed that transubstantiation is ridiculous."

Right. But 'ridiculous' is a reaction to a claim that flies in the face of our experience. Are you taking the position that transubstantiation is an ordinary claim?

RS: "You then compared the statement "transubstantiation is ridiculous" to the mundane statement "the sky looks blue", in order to show that no further argument was necessary."

Right-o. Because 'the sky appears blue' is an ordinary claim that is objective, reliable, and verifiable. 'When I eat this cracker and drink this wine they turn into the flesh and blood of a man who died 2,000 years ago' is an extraordinary claim without any evidence that is objective, reliable, and verifiable. One statement appears ordinary, the other appears ridiculous. This seems like very basic stuff.

RS: "However, the "obvious ridiculousness" of transubstantiation is exactly what's at issue. In other words, you have assumed said ridiculousness in your attempt to prove it, and have therefore begged the question."

You seem to be making the argument that when you eat a cracker and drink some wine they turn into the flesh and blood of a man who died 2,000 years ago we should not consider this claim to appear ridiculous. This doesn't pass the laugh test, but if you need a more formal outline of the explanation I think you'll find that in my paragraph above.

Me: "Actually, if I thought you were capable of providing a good argument, I'd ask you for your definition of dumb, and see if you had any evidence for your argument."
RS: "So you would expect me to present an argument rather than merely a series of bald assertions. Exactly."

Nope. I said I'd ask you for a definition of the word "dumb," and see if you had any evidence for your argument. Your argument, as I understand it, was already revealed as "I think that New Atheists are dumb. Prove me wrong!" With your definition of the word "dumb", and the (if any) evidence you were working with, I think I'd have enough to see if your argument had any validity.

Papalinton said...

Bob

To Tony: See? There's an evidentiary chain here. Just as with my best friend. I trust he'll tell me the truth. Why? Because he has a proven track record of truthfulness. It would take extraordinary circumstances for me to doubt his word.


"But I tell you: From now on you will see 'the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power' and 'coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matthew 26:64 NAB)
Then Jesus answered, "I am; and 'you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.'" (Mark 14:62 NAB)

Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:36 NAB)

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. "Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:29-35 NAB)

Matthew 16:28 “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Don’t let Christians lie to you and claim Jesus was referring to his modern day believers. Curiously Jesus still isn’t here to claim his kingdom.

Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Mark 13:30-31 NAB)
"Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power." (Mark 9:1 NAB)

Jesus falsely predicts that some of his listeners would live to see him return and establish the kingdom of God.
"Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:27 NAB)

Jesus implies that he will return to earth during the lifetime of John. (John 21:22)


CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.


"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand." He taught them a lesson. "Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Luke 21:25-33 NAB)

Finally, Matthew 10:23 also has Jesus telling his disciples that the second coming will occur before the disciples finish preaching in Israel: "When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes." (Matthew 10:23 NAB)]


Oops! The pseudonymous works of the purported authors Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all seem to have got it wrong. Or did jesus tell an untruth? But I guess even these direct quotes from jesus's mouth, as faithfully recorded in the Judeo-christian mythos doesn't constitute as evidence of a little fib.

One theist's evidence is another theist's hogwash.

HyperEntity111 said...

In reply to Lance:

I know many people who were taught that the doctrine of hell is true and none of them have suffered the kind consequences you have alluded to. It seems to me that you are objecting to teaching children this doctrine because you have an adverse emotional reaction to it and regard it as immoral. However your emotional reaction to a given proposition does not determine whether it is true or false. Many people find the possibility that atheism might be true to be unbearable but that does not constitute a
powerful objection to atheism. If the doctrine of hell were true we would have a moral
obligation to teach it to our children. If you to convince people not to teach this doctrine
to their children you will first have to convince them that it is false and so far you have
not done so. Merely claiming that it is immoral or that it causes discomfort to some
children simply fails to appreciate the matter from the opposing perspective. This brings
me to my next point.

Claiming that parents should not abuse their children clearly presupposes normative
obligations which can only be justified by reference to some form of moral realism.
Dawkins and other atheists believe that morality is an illusion and that free will does not
exist. So when he says that parents should not do this or that thing he is by his own
criteria talking complete nonsense. So if we were to accept his worldview we would
have no reason whatever to stop teaching false or immoral doctrines to our children
even if harmful. Of course it is possible that you accept moral realism. But you ought to admitt that many philosophers (especially atheists) do not. You now need to explain what distinguishes the arguments in favour of moral realism from those in favour of theism. Whether there are any moral facts seems just as controversial a question as the truth of theism if not more so. Do you think that we should wait until we've convinced all nihilist philosophers that moral facts exists before we teach our children that rape is wrong? And if not why do you think Catholics should wait until all the atheists are convinced that transubstantiation is true before teaching their children that transubstantiation is true?

Crude said...

Linton,

Now that is funny. How apt a description.

Of course you think it's just so great, being that you're exactly the sort of rube the arch-bigot is trying to con.

Quick, Linton, go kiss his ass and buy his t-shirts. He wants desperately to be your leader, and you desperately NEED a leader, so it's a win win. ;)

Crude said...

Ben,

I can be rationally certain authorities chould be trusted for that which they are compotent. If Dawkins speaks on matters to which he is compotent (biology and the science of Evolution) I am more likely to trust him then not.

Sorry to nitpick, but Dawkins hasn't been a scientist for decades. He's as competent in the field of biology as a man with a PhD in computer programming is competent with programming - assuming he's been working as a car salesman for 20 years, and has (at best) dabbled with the field since then.

He's not just a joke when it comes to philosophy and, really, arguments and critical thinking in general. As far as science goes, there's a term for him: has-been.

Unless a scientist's worth is measured in terms of his research output. In which case, he's a never-was.

rank sophist said...

And if you think that someone else's paraphrase of Dawkins et al. provided an entirely accurate reflection of their views and arguments, then you merely set up a straw man.

Here's a tip for you: it's entirely too common for theists to quote mine and paraphrase Dawkins et al. so as to misrepresent the gist of their arguments. You seem typically reluctant to relinquish this privilege of attacking a straw man. I am not interested in your arguments against straw men, so, yup, you've got me pegged there.


In what way have these quotes been taken out of context? Mind sharing? Because, from what I've seen over the last few years, they're completely accurate representations of what Dawkins, Harris and the rest have said.

The bald assertion part for me was where you assert that I belong to a side that behaves in a semi-Maoist way. Do you see it now?

By all appearances, you are a Gnu. You defend Dawkins and damage control for his hatespeech, and you prefer rhetoric to argument. Am I wrong in this inference? And Gnuism, as has been argued in the last three comboxes, is quite similar to Maoism, Stalinism and the rest. No counterarguments have been presented, as far as I've seen. So, again, no bald assertions here.

You seem to be making the argument that when you eat a cracker and drink some wine they turn into the flesh and blood of a man who died 2,000 years ago we should not consider this claim to appear ridiculous. This doesn't pass the laugh test, but if you need a more formal outline of the explanation I think you'll find that in my paragraph above.

I made no argument--I'm personally undecided on transubstantiation. I merely pointed out your fallacy. And you replied with an argument from personal incredulity. Very impressive.

rank sophist said...

I'd like to add one thing.

Right-o. Because 'the sky appears blue' is an ordinary claim that is objective, reliable, and verifiable. 'When I eat this cracker and drink this wine they turn into the flesh and blood of a man who died 2,000 years ago' is an extraordinary claim without any evidence that is objective, reliable, and verifiable. One statement appears ordinary, the other appears ridiculous. This seems like very basic stuff.

"The sky appears blue" is neither objective nor verifiable. It is an entirely subjective "what-it's-like" statement (i.e. quale) that cannot be explained by science, per "What is it like to be a bat?" and the Mary's room thought experiment, among other things.

HyperEntity111 said...

It's a shame that Tony decided to respond by claiming that I've taken Dawkins and Harris out of context. My computer is rather slow at the moment and it's quite late so I'm going to call it a day but I'll be sure to post the exact quotes with links few hours from now. Still the fact that chooses to deny that Dawkins et al said any of those things suggests that if it were proven that they did... He and other atheists here would concede the point of my first two posts. Am I right Tony?

Jonah said...

Hi all. New to the blog here. I have read the threads and would like to intromit synopsis for those defending the right of parents to indoctrinate their children with religion.

The synopsis involves 2 options. Option #1 involves allowing parents to indoctrinate their children with any belief or "faith". After indoctrinating their child or children, they grow up to become atheists.
Option #2 removes the parental right to indoctrinate, however, the children through their own inquiry, as adults, find the faith of their parents choice on their own.
The choice really materializes into a question of genuine belief. In option #1, parents reserve their right to indoctrinate, but the children find the faith to be false and fail to believe.
In option #2, the parental right is taken away, but the children find the faith of their parents on their own accord.
Wouldn't their faith be more authentic if not forced on them if they find it on their own and less authentic if is forced on them?

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crude said...

Wouldn't their faith be more authentic if not forced on them if they find it on their own and less authentic if is forced on them?

Raising a child in a religion does not cash out to "forcing a belief on them". Your own example partly illustrates that: a child can be raised in a given faith, yet ultimately decide on their own that said faith is wrong.

And we do not need governments enforcing some nitwit's armchair (or worse, soapbox) idea of 'fairness' at the point of a gun. Or, if we do, perhaps atheists can be all warm and cheery at the idea that state mandated religious upbringing will only mean that those who becomes atheists later in life are more "authentic".

B. Prokop said...

"You know perfectly well that Lance Bush's contribution to the debate has been cogent, level-headed and evenly balanced, without rancour."

All of which, if true (which it is not) would make his line of thought all the more frightening and dangerous. It is so often the person who believes he is acting out of the best of motives, for the "Good of Humanity", who is responsible for the worst atrocities. Trotsky genuinely believed he was working to create a paradise on Earth. In the process he butchered countless innocents in the Russian Civil War. Pol Pot was sincere in wanting to "remake" Cambodia as a state free of the past. The result was the world's first self-genocide.

But in any case, his argument, rather than being "cogent", twisted and turned and shape-changed constantly when challenged. "Level-headed" it was most certainly not, since he failed to think through the logical consequences of his proposals, and refused to admit to them when pointed out to him. "Evenly Balanced"? ((horselaughs)) When he makes incredible statements like religion being irrational, and teaching your own children to respect one's own deepest values is "wrong"? "Without rancor?" I'm sure he'd be saying "Nothing personal, you know", as he rounded up miscreant parents who dared to defy his tyranny.

No, the folks who responded to him on this thread were guilty of no hyperbole. If anything, we went easy on him (I did, at least), as it was his first offense.

B. Prokop said...

Thank you, Crude. I second your last comment.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crude said...

Linton,

Now that really is humorous. Unfortunately, trying to get atheists together is like herding cats.

Yeah, because it's not like Myers was referencing the speech he was giving to a crowd of atheists, writing so on his blog devoted almost entirely to grouping up atheist bloggers. Did you miss the ****ing part about '2000 pairs of hunters eyes'? Looks like someone herded the cats!

Atheists are individualists in the truest sense of the word

Man, you never fail to amuse. You're saying this in direct response to Myers *addressing his group, in a speech where he attempts to outline a core ideology for them to share, in their massed attack on religious people*.

As I said: go buy his t-shirts, you freaking rube. You need a leader, and he wants to be yours. Just hope he and Coyne don't have another spat, it'll blow your sad little mind. ;)

Papalinton said...

Crude
Of course you think it's just so great, being that you're exactly the sort of rube the arch-bigot is trying to con.

Quick, Linton, go kiss his ass and buy his t-shirts. He wants desperately to be your leader, and you desperately NEED a leader, so it's a win win. ;)

Now that really is humorous. Unfortunately, trying to get atheists together is like herding cats. There is no institutional atheism akin to the multi-national catholic institution. There are no popes [leaders], clergy [trained atheists], no grand edifice of worship [halls of atheism], no doctrine. In fact, atheism is simply a state of the rational and commonsensical mind. Atheists are individualists in the truest sense of the word, coming from all walks of life, different cultures, different societies, different communities. indeed atheism transcends all cultural and social fences. There is no grandiose pretense in the idea of being an atheist, no idolatry, no bibliolatry, no mythology, no superstition, per se.

B. Prokop said...

... and yet there is.

Tony Hoffman said...

RS: "In what way have these quotes been taken out of context? Mind sharing? Because, from what I've seen over the last few years, they're completely accurate representations of what Dawkins, Harris and the rest have said."

Um, you quoted somebody else, and attributed that quote to Dawkins et al. So there's not even a question of context here -- you haven't even given yourself that much for us to examine. Furthermore, to my recollection, Dawkins posited, in an interview, that in some instances, inculcating a child with the fear of Hell (and that his/her loved ones will go to Hell) could cause more psychological damage than some mild forms of physical molestation. To be fair, I think he raised the question of why it is that we are so rightly attuned to the long-term psychological damage caused by sexual molestation, but appear indifferent to the possible psychological damage caused by some religious indoctrination. (Here's an example of his position, http://richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse) That is, I think, a more subtle and considerable position than your attributing to him the statement that "They believe that raising your child in your religion is worse than paedophilia (Dawkins)."

RS: "And Gnuism, as has been argued in the last three comboxes, is quite similar to Maoism, Stalinism and the rest. No counterarguments have been presented, as far as I've seen. So, again, no bald assertions here."

Um, I am unaware of how it is that atheism is quite similar to totalitarian cults of personality in any but the most superficial of ways. I've been an atheist for about 30 years now, and in my experience my fellow travelers and I can't agree on much more than we don't like whoever's in charge.

RS: ""The sky appears blue" is neither objective nor verifiable. It is an entirely subjective "what-it's-like" statement (i.e. quale) that cannot be explained by science, per "What is it like to be a bat?" and the Mary's room thought experiment, among other things."

No, it's objective. We can take a blue PMS chip and it will be called blue by different observers, and the sky will be identified the same way, and compared to the chip, etc. Quale is a separate (and largely meaningless) question about the whatness of tasting pineapple and seeing blue, etc., but the uniformity of the experience is what makes it objective and verifiable (not the question of whether or not the uniformity is experienced in the same way).

Papalinton said...

Oh Crude, so full of hate and loathing to those that robustly challenge the nonsense that is trotted out under the rubric of catholicism. Clearly christianity has been singularly unsuccessful in curbing your basal animal response mechanism to instinctually lash out against those who have questioned the basis on which you lead your life on such a cheap lie. The indiscriminate and personal swipe at others for simply scrutinizing the basic precepts of your life support is anything if not an indictment on the utterly tenuous and fragile nature of your superstitious belief system. It must be like a cut to the flesh when it is starkly pointed out how childish, unreasoned and foolish it is to believe in cherubim, seraphim, and evil spirits, and demons and satans, and angels with wings, and other things that go bump in the night. Surely you can understand that these beliefs are as silly and as unsophisticated as those that hold that Muhammad flew to paradise on the back of a winged horse, No? Even you would be hard-pressed to believe such horse nonsense, no?

Man, you never fail to amuse. You're saying this [Atheists are individualists ...] in direct response to Myers *addressing his group, in a speech where he attempts to outline a core ideology for them to share, in their massed attack on religious people*.

No, not at all. I haven't even read Myers' article. I was responding to your jejune commentary.

It must eat you up living your life on perpetual tender-hooks, having invested so much of your personal life and energy defending the 'faith' against anyone who speaks the truth about or rightly challenges the superstitious nonsense on which you, have based your lie, only to find that blasphemy and heresy can no longer be conveniently disposed with, as in the good old days when religion reigned supreme.

Jonah said...

(Raising a child in a religion does not cash out to "forcing a belief on them". Your own example partly illustrates that: a child can be raised in a given faith, yet ultimately decide on their own that said faith is wrong.)

That is very few and far in between. All you have to do is look at a map and geographically color each country according to its popular faith. No one can deny that if you grow up in a predominately Muslim country with Muslim parents, you will keep your faith of your kin. Same with Buddhists, Hindus and all of the different sects of Christianity.

rank sophist said...

Um, you quoted somebody else, and attributed that quote to Dawkins et al. So there's not even a question of context here -- you haven't even given yourself that much for us to examine. Furthermore, to my recollection, Dawkins posited, in an interview, that in some instances, inculcating a child with the fear of Hell (and that his/her loved ones will go to Hell) could cause more psychological damage than some mild forms of physical molestation. To be fair, I think he raised the question of why it is that we are so rightly attuned to the long-term psychological damage caused by sexual molestation, but appear indifferent to the possible psychological damage caused by some religious indoctrination. (Here's an example of his position, http://richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse) That is, I think, a more subtle and considerable position than your attributing to him the statement that "They believe that raising your child in your religion is worse than paedophilia (Dawkins)."

Same disgusting message at the core. It has a little more window dressing because Dawkins said it in the middle of a speech/conversation, but nothing that changes his meaning.

Um, I am unaware of how it is that atheism is quite similar to totalitarian cults of personality in any but the most superficial of ways. I've been an atheist for about 30 years now, and in my experience my fellow travelers and I can't agree on much more than we don't like whoever's in charge.

Atheism is not New Atheism, which is a fairly recent occurrence. Anyway, if you want to see the evidence, read Victor's last few posts and the comboxes they spawned. I repeated myself quite a few times in those, and I don't plan on doing so again.

No, it's objective. We can take a blue PMS chip and it will be called blue by different observers, and the sky will be identified the same way, and compared to the chip, etc.

So the question is whether subjects report consistent experience? Sounds like transubstantiation is in the cards after all.

Quale is a separate (and largely meaningless) question about the whatness of tasting pineapple and seeing blue, etc., but the uniformity of the experience is what makes it objective and verifiable (not the question of whether or not the uniformity is experienced in the same way).

"The sky appears blue" is a statement about to a quale. And, critically, science cannot objectively measure blue. It can measure light particles and whatnot, but it can't measure "blue-ness". All it can do is rely on subjective accounts of blue, which are then generalized. Once you let subjective accounts in the door, you allow "feelings of religious experience" regarding transubstantiation to count as evidence.

rank sophist said...

That is very few and far in between. All you have to do is look at a map and geographically color each country according to its popular faith. No one can deny that if you grow up in a predominately Muslim country with Muslim parents, you will keep your faith of your kin. Same with Buddhists, Hindus and all of the different sects of Christianity.

And the same with atheism. What is your point? That the government should prohibit indoctrination into any set of beliefs until the subject is 18?

Crude said...

Oh Crude, so full of hate and loathing to those that robustly challenge

Buddy, you haven't challenged anything since your time here, except people's patience. Hell, even finding out you're a plagiarizer wasn't a challenge - it was as simple as hitting google and clicking result one. You are THAT lame.

No, not at all. I haven't even read Myers' article.

Gosh, Linton, it was hard to tell that you didn't. What with the fact that you put your foot in your mouth whenever you comment on crap like this. "Didn't read" tracks so similar to "didn't comprehend", after all. ;)

Yes, my basal animal instincts have not been curbed. Why, I call people out for stupidity in the comments boxes of blogs. Now and then, I even fling a curse out. Clearly I'm a terrifying barbarian.

Or wait, no. You're just a candy-ass who can't take what you limp-wristedly attempt to dish out. ;)

Like I said, go buy that t-shirt. Myers needs another box of twinkies. Won't you help your leader out?

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Crude said...

For the record, one way I may or may not disagree with the other commenters here.

While I think a lot of the Cult of Gnu ideas absolutely trend in the Stalinist and, yeah, klan-member sort of direction, I don't find the cultists particularly threatening. Look at the PZ Myers speech I linked to. That's one of the cult's leaders at his angriest and his most 'trying to be inspirational', and let's face it - it's not the stuff of the next Stalin. It's the stuff of a pudgy dweeb Stalin-wannabe who, really, only manages to come off like a supreme dork. The only way to do worse than Myers is to be one of the goobers in the audience being spoken to, and finding it anything other than pathetic.

Dawkins was a bit better with words, but really, he's been trending downward in a big way for years - especially given his well publicized WLC avoidance and 'title of Darwin's book' style flubs, along with his general degradation of verbal talent. The big worry is if a real thinker and inspirational figure steps in and takes over, like John Loftahahahaha...

Nope! Couldn't even fake that one as serious. Fingers betrayed me. ;)

Anyway, tl;dr version: yeah, the cult is pretty disturbing, but in a 'fat emo kids really into Nietzche' kind of way. They'll have their chatrooms, they'll all attend CutterCon or whatever, and it's all pretty sad. But the only threat they really pose is to bore the piss out of folks in some online comments sections, and it's been this way for the past few years. There's far worse stuff to worry about. But few groups funnier to mock in their particular category. ;)

Papalinton said...

Surely crude even you can see and understand a belief in cherubim, seraphim, and evil spirits, revivified walking cadavers, and demons and satans, and angels with wings, and other things that go bump in the night is right up there with the just as silly and unsophisticated mumbo-jumbo of Muhammad flying to paradise on the back of a winged horse, or the power of the broken-tusked god, Ganesha.

How can one fool oneself to even think these as real events let alone imagine they are real? Their conception would be simply risible propositions were they not important medical and health signifiers of those exhibiting clinical psychotypal behaviour. The shades of grey between illusion and delusion are functionally indistinguishable.

And we know that religious influence operates greatest on our most primal of response mechanisms of the brain, the Amygdala. here is some of the overview:

"The Role of the Amygdala in Fear and Panic"
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1749

and

"Amygdala Tapping Metaphysics"
http://genealogyreligion.net/military-metaphysics

This article concludes with: "Therein lies not only the genius but also the longevity of such metaphysics.  Fear becomes so internalized and habitual it is scarcely noticed, yet is so deeply insinuated in society and mind it generates a kind of discipline that masquerades as virtue.  It is deliciously dialectical that the love of something, whether it be gods or countries, must be rooted in and regulated by fear."

and

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/feb/24/1

B. Prokop said...

I absolutely love it when an atheist brings up some random brain function (e.g., Papalinton's reference to the amygdala), as though that somehow clinches the deal. Their general argument runs: "The supernatural doesn't exist, since I can point to the brain function that detects it."

Question to you, Papalinton: since I can show you how we detect light (the eye), does it then follow that light does not exist?

News flash for you - we have these structures and functions within our brains that enable religious experiences because they are real.

Papalinton said...

I forgot to include this article from the NIH titled:
Impaired spontaneous anthropomorphizing despite intact perception and social knowledge
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC409945/

Some of the findings include; "Humans spontaneously imbue the world with social meaning: we see not only emotions and intentional behaviors in humans and other animals, but also anger in the movements of thunderstorms and willful sabotage in crashing computers. Converging evidence supports a role for the amygdala, a collection of nuclei in the temporal lobe, in processing emotionally and socially relevant information."

"This finding extends the role of the amygdala to the social attributions we make even to stimuli that are not explicitly social and, in so doing, suggests that the human capacity for anthropomorphizing draws on some of the same neural systems as do basic emotional responses."

Johnny Boy said...

Papalinton says: ""Surely crude even you can see and understand a belief in cherubim, seraphim, and evil spirits, revivified walking cadavers, and demons and satans, and angels with wings, and other things that go bump in the night is right up there with the just as silly and unsophisticated mumbo-jumbo of Muhammad flying to paradise on the back of a winged horse, or the power of the broken-tusked god, Ganesha. "

-- Yes, we all "see and understand that". The difference with Christianity is that it makes sense and it's something for which there is good evidence.

Let's see you reply without begging the question.

Papalinton said...

Here is a dissertation by Prof Paul Thagard, Titled, "The Emotional Coherence of Religion∗"

http://cogsci.uwaterloo.ca/Articles/religion.pdf

Johnny Boy said...

Papalinton,

What was your point about the Amygdala? Was it that because it makes religious experience possible, religious experience therefore isn't real?

Seriously? You can't be that dumb.

Papalinton said...

Johhny Boy
Yes, we all "see and understand that". The difference with Christianity is that it makes sense and it's something for which there is good evidence.

Tell that to the billion Muslims and close to a billion Hindus. The only difference with christianity that I see is the arrogance and depraved indifference that christians can summarily dismiss competing religious 'trooth' claims.

No sense, no evidence, I'm afraid; christian theism is a fact free zone.

Papalinton said...

Johnny Boy
What was your point about the Amygdala? Was it that because it makes religious experience possible, religious experience therefore isn't real?

I can show you the current research, findings and evidence. I cannot help you in comprehending it.

Johnny Boy said...

Papalinton,

"Tell that to the billion Muslims and close to a billion Hindus. The only difference with christianity that I see is the arrogance and depraved indifference that christians can summarily dismiss competing religious 'trooth' claims."

-- So it can't be true because billions of Muslims and Hindus don't think it is? You can't be that dumb.

Johnny Boy said...

Papalinton says:

"Here is a dissertation by Prof Paul Thagard, Titled, "The Emotional Coherence of Religion∗"

-- Don't know what the genetic fallacy is? You cant be that dumb.

Tony Hoffman said...

RS: "Same disgusting message at the core. It has a little more window dressing because Dawkins said it in the middle of a speech/conversation, but nothing that changes his meaning."

I understand Dawkins meaning to be that we should be as attentive in protecting children from the damage some religions cause to children's minds as we are to the psychological harm done to children's minds through priestly sexual abuse. I don't necessarily agree with this, but I don't find the thought disgusting, nor beneath consideration.

RS: "Atheism is not New Atheism, which is a fairly recent occurrence. Anyway, if you want to see the evidence, read Victor's last few posts and the comboxes they spawned. I repeated myself quite a few times in those, and I don't plan on doing so again."

If they are along the line of your comments here I think I'm going to save myself the time.

RS: "So the question is whether subjects report consistent experience?"

As I said earlier, I respect beliefs that are objective, reliable, and verifiable. "I feel hungry" is not something that can be verified objectively -- you cannot refer to a set of axioms or your senses to confirm whether or not I am hungry. When I point out that the sky appears blue (to me), you can refer to your senses to see if the sky appears blue to you as well. (Hey, we're being objective!) And we can use color chips, and wave lengths, and all kinds of other tools that allow us to both objectively examine the color of the sky.

RS: " Sounds like transubstantiation is in the cards after all."

I doubt it. Notice how the only defense so far mustered on behalf of transubstantiation is the "because I say so" defense. But feel free to class things up around here and explain why, per this thread, a belief like transubstantiation should not be ridiculed.

RS: " 'The sky appears blue' is a statement about to a quale.'"

It's about both the color of the sky (an objective fact), and our experience (quale) of that color. The first part is what I'm talking about when I am saying that it is objective -- as explained above, the color of the sky can be examined by others. I find discussions of qualia to be a sometimes interesting diversion, but the topic is basically meaningless.

RS: "And, critically, science cannot objectively measure blue."

Science can't measure my experience of blue. But it can measure the color blue -- our eyes are fairly good at recognizing those wavelengths, among other things, and our eyes can be a kind of scientific tool. Also, we have tools (spectrometers) that do so much more precisely. But even done crudely (with our eyes), we have something (the sky) which can be measured objectively -- you and I can both experience its color, as opposed to your hunger, which I cannot use my senses to experience. The color of the sky. The quality of your hunger. Do you see how one is objective, and the other is not?

RS: "It can measure light particles and whatnot, but it can't measure "blue-ness". All it can do is rely on subjective accounts of blue, which are then generalized."

Our experience of the sky's color is also objective because others can examine the color of the sky and we can compare this to other things that are also available to us all, like a color chip. In this way we gain confidence in the objective reality of the sky's color. The key is to have something that can be experienced independently. The color of the sky can be experienced independently, not just by me, and not just by you.

Tony Hoffman said...

RS: "Once you let subjective accounts in the door, you allow "feelings of religious experience" regarding transubstantiation to count as evidence." "

If those feelings correspond to something that can be objectively experienced, that are reliable and verifiable, then absolutely you'd have evidence for transubstantiation. The problem is that it appears that transubstantiation is not something that is objective, verifiable, and relieable -- for starters, every time I ever took communion, I can tell you that I ate a cracker and drank some wine. So I am not only initally skeptical of the claim, I have already run some experiments that seem to disprove it.

Anyway, this thread seems to have gone especially flamey. I may check in again, but it seems like anything productive that might have happened here would have happened above.

BenYachov said...

Your full of shit Tony. Your Positivist ideology leads to us doubting science. All the information you think you have on the human brain comes from your senses. You can't prove empirically your senses are valid via empiricism alone.

You can make a philosophical case that we should trust our sense and our senses preceve what is real. But you can't do it by science alone.

>As I said earlier, I respect beliefs that are objective, reliable, and verifiable.

Except your Scientism/Positivism doesn't fall into that catagory.

Live with it.

Crude said...

Bob,

I absolutely love it when an atheist brings up some random brain function (e.g., Papalinton's reference to the amygdala), as though that somehow clinches the deal. Their general argument runs: "The supernatural doesn't exist, since I can point to the brain function that detects it."

Yeah, as usual Linton cannot grok even the very articles he quotes. It's easy to understand why: he has always, always, focused more on parroting rather than understanding. And you nailed it: "I can show a part of the brain involved with what I call religious experiences, therefore it's not true!" == "I can show a part of the brain involved with tasting a potato. Thus we can eliminate potatoes from reality!" ;)

But, don't be too hard on him. I mean look at his performance in this thread: yet again, it's an episode of Linton copypasta, and not even understanding what he's pasing. To paraphrase Vox Day, at this point a good argument for something's existence would be the fact that Linton doesn't believe in it.

Johnny Boy,

Don't know what the genetic fallacy is? You cant be that dumb.

Hey there, JB, we've not met. Let me assure you: yes, he really can be that dumb. And don't assume he knows what a genetic fallacy is. Especially don't assume it if he copies and pastes the wiki entry for it. In fact, that's precisely when you should expect he does NOT know it, because he demonstrably has confused 'the ability to copy and paste' with 'the ability to understand'. (Hence the past plagiarism on his part, copying things and acting as if he himself wrote them.)

Karl Grant said...

Johnny,

At the risk of parroting Crude yes, Paps can, and often is, that dumb. Take a look at the last couple of threads, his response to the hate speech at the Reason rally was to bring up the Catholic Church not allowing women to be priests and acting like that somehow excused atheist bigotry.

Karl Grant said...

Bob/Crude,

I remember some atheist bringing up the God Helmet and saying that since it could duplicate the feelings experienced during religious experiences said religious experiences were illusions. I replied I saw a helmet in the movie Demolition Man that could replicate the feelings people have during sex therefore is sex an illusion? =)

Personally, I blame Dawkins for the existence of this false-argument because on pgs 90-92 of The God Delusion he writes:

‘the brain’s simulation software...is well capable of constructing “visions” and “visitations” of the utmost verdical power. To simulate a ghost or an angel or a Virgin Mary would be child’s play to software of this sophistication....This is really all that needs to be said about personal ‘experiences’ of gods or other religious phenomena. If you’ve had such an experience, you may well find yourself believing firmly that it was real. But don’t expect the rest of us to take your word for it, especially if we have the slightest familiarity with the brain and its powerful workings

As Peter S. Williams points out this rebuttal doesn’t even rise to the level of an argument. Saying the brain can create illusions provides no support for the conclusion that all religious experiences are illusions. For that you would need a second premise that both links and restricts the illusion-giving power of the brain to religious experiences, something Dawkins and his Parrot Brigade have failed to provide. And like you guys said this rebuttal that Paps has put so much stock in works equally against all experiences.

Lance Bush said...

My argument has always been very simple. But I'll just ask it this way:

How is it that your personal religious freedom somehow extends to how you treat the children you are raising? Children are other persons, and your freedoms end where their's begin.

It is wrong to foist beliefs upon a child in a manner that suppresses their capacity for making decisions free from pressure as an adult.

There are members of the atheist community now who have entered it in part as a result of being literally kicked out of their homes for announcing themselves to be atheists.

There are members of Mormon communities who have been utterly exiled for their actions - permanently cut off from their friends and family forever.

There are members of the Church of Christ who were told from the time they were children that it is a sin to even think an impure thought, and they lived in terror and perpetual guilt that their desires would condemn them to eternal torture. Such people often enter our community shaken and psychologically damaged by their religious upbringings, and to deny that such phenomena occur is a major blindspot you all seem to ignore.

People have been murdered, driven to suicide, lived lives as pariahs from their communities, or have been deeply psychologically traumatized by their religious upbringing, but people continue to be given total freedom to destroy the lives of their children due to their narrow religious worldviews.

This is a fact. It has been utterly ignored by all of you. You have totally failed to address a very simple question - how it is that your freedom entitles you to act in ways that are not in the actual best interests of your child. None of you showed any sincere interest in addressing my questions, and instead immediately accused me - totally falsely - of totalitarian designs in a fashion so absurd as to constitute a debate style that can only be described as delusional, dishonest, or incompetent.

None of you seem willing to engage in this argument in a serious manner. You have been nasty, vicious, insulting, completely unreasonable, given me no credit for maintaining my cool throughout this massive dialog, but extremely uncharitable, extremely judgmental, extremely willing to jump to conclusions, and in every way, shape and form, demonstrated yourselves to have nearly subhuman capacities for reasoning, sincerely engaging with newcomers, and with treating them compassionately. If you are what the Christian community has to offer, you utterly shame it

HyperEntity111 said...

At the risk of sounding repetitive I want to turn this thread back to the original question: whether the New Atheists can be regarded as a hate group and whether it is acceptable to describer them as such. Certain commentators have suggested that my original posts are mistaken because I have quoted Dawkins & Co out of context. Here are some the actual quotations with links.

Harris claiming that teaching your daughter your religious beliefs is worse than raping her: If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion. - Sam Harris (THE NEW ATHEISTS - Researchers Crusade against American Fundamentalists, October 26, 2006)

Harris further defending the view that it is better to rape your daughter than to take her to church:
Saltman: Your analogy between organized religion and rape is pretty inflammatory. Is that intentional?
Harris: I can be even more inflammatory than that. If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion.


http://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/369/the_temple_of_reason?page=2




Dawkins thinks that raising your child as a Catholic is worse than raping them:

‘’Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place."

http://www.thedubliner.ie/template.php?ID=15&PageName=coverstoryoctober2002

(Of course paedophilia is illegal. If Dawkins actually believes that raising your child as a Catholic is worse than paedophilia he must also be committed to the view that raising you’re a child as a Catholic must be made illegal as with any other crime. He does in fact hold this view. See here: http://telicthoughts.com/dawkins-is-still-jumping-the-shark/

To be fair he has retracted his support for that petition-which aimed to criminalise raising your child in your religion-but anyone who thinks he did so out of a genuine change of heart is simply naive).

Dawkins explains why atheism requires no evidence in order to be rational:

‘’Would you need to read learned volumes on Leprechology before disbelieving in leprechauns?’’

‘’Oxford theologian Alister McGrath (author of The Dawkins Delusion and Dawkins' God) maintains that Dawkins is ignorant of Christian theology and therefore unable to engage religion and faith intelligently. In reply, Dawkins asks "Do you have to read up on leprechology before disbelieving in leprechauns?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#cite_note-104

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/1647?page=27

See also the Courtier’s Reply.




The fact that Pap and others are determined to derail this thread instead of drawing the obvious conclusion from such comments suggests that we are dealing with particularly extreme cases of cognitive dissonance. This yet another sad example of the destructive effects dogma can have on the thought processes of otherwise intelligent humans.

rank sophist said...

I understand Dawkins meaning to be that we should be as attentive in protecting children from the damage some religions cause to children's minds as we are to the psychological harm done to children's minds through priestly sexual abuse. I don't necessarily agree with this, but I don't find the thought disgusting, nor beneath consideration.

Allow me to return to my statement about locking children in basements.

I doubt it. Notice how the only defense so far mustered on behalf of transubstantiation is the "because I say so" defense. But feel free to class things up around here and explain why, per this thread, a belief like transubstantiation should not be ridiculed.

I haven't defended transubstantiation. I was merely pointing out a hole in your argument. But, as Ben said in an earlier thread, the whole thing makes perfect metaphysical sense if you assume A) the truth of Aristotelian metaphysics and B) that the Christian God exists.

It's about both the color of the sky (an objective fact), and our experience (quale) of that color.

Who says it's an objective fact, though? We can only know it when we experience it as a quale. Regardless of that stuff you mentioned before, "seeing blue" is our only real measurement tool. If we studied the wavelengths but were colorblind, we would have no idea that certain wavelengths could result in "seeing blue" rather than something else.

The first part is what I'm talking about when I am saying that it is objective -- as explained above, the color of the sky can be examined by others.

Examined by others through subjective experience of blue-as-quale.

Science can't measure my experience of blue. But it can measure the color blue -- our eyes are fairly good at recognizing those wavelengths, among other things, and our eyes can be a kind of scientific tool. Also, we have tools (spectrometers) that do so much more precisely. But even done crudely (with our eyes), we have something (the sky) which can be measured objectively -- you and I can both experience its color, as opposed to your hunger, which I cannot use my senses to experience. The color of the sky. The quality of your hunger. Do you see how one is objective, and the other is not?

No. I also can't see how this excludes transubstantiation.

Our experience of the sky's color is also objective because others can examine the color of the sky and we can compare this to other things that are also available to us all, like a color chip. In this way we gain confidence in the objective reality of the sky's color. The key is to have something that can be experienced independently. The color of the sky can be experienced independently, not just by me, and not just by you.

Just like transubstantiation.

The problem is that it appears that transubstantiation is not something that is objective, verifiable, and relieable -- for starters, every time I ever took communion, I can tell you that I ate a cracker and drank some wine. So I am not only initally skeptical of the claim, I have already run some experiments that seem to disprove it.

You're simply one of the colorblind participants. See how easy that was? There have been so many reports of religious experience during communion that your experiments must have been biased in some way. Perhaps religious experience during communion is something that takes time to develop--like if we were colorblind for the first five years of our lives.

Like I said, I'm currently transubstantiation-agnostic; but there is no difference between the statements "the sky appears blue" and "I feel religious experience during communion". Both refer to entirely subjective qualia that can only be verified through other subjective experiences. That there are more tools for measuring the sky's color is irrelevant; these tools wouldn't mean anything to us if we couldn't see blue.

rank sophist said...

Hyper,

Good post. I hope this silences the damage control squad.

Lance,

Good job ignoring my posts.

It is wrong to foist beliefs upon a child in a manner that suppresses their capacity for making decisions free from pressure as an adult.

And every system you propose to stop this takes us to Maoville.

There are members of the atheist community now who have entered it in part as a result of being literally kicked out of their homes for announcing themselves to be atheists.

And atheist parents can disown their children when they become religious. Breaking news.

There are members of the Church of Christ who were told from the time they were children that it is a sin to even think an impure thought, and they lived in terror and perpetual guilt that their desires would condemn them to eternal torture. Such people often enter our community shaken and psychologically damaged by their religious upbringings, and to deny that such phenomena occur is a major blindspot you all seem to ignore.

And children raised as atheists can grow up to believe that everything is meaningless. This can make them suicidal, or even violent.

People have been murdered, driven to suicide, lived lives as pariahs from their communities, or have been deeply psychologically traumatized by their religious upbringing, but people continue to be given total freedom to destroy the lives of their children due to their narrow religious worldviews.

Replace the word "religious" above with "atheistic" and give it a read. Pretty entertaining.

This is a fact. It has been utterly ignored by all of you. You have totally failed to address a very simple question - how it is that your freedom entitles you to act in ways that are not in the actual best interests of your child.

You have failed to define these "best interests" in a way that does not include wiggle words. You have failed to explain how your system could be put into effect without regular checkups from the thought police. Like I said, I'm all for letting parents raise their kids as Neo-Nazis. It isn't the government's place to intervene in upbringing. They're only allowed to do something about the actions those kids perform later in life. Anything more than that, and we enter totalitarian territory.

None of you showed any sincere interest in addressing my questions, and instead immediately accused me - totally falsely - of totalitarian designs in a fashion so absurd as to constitute a debate style that can only be described as delusional, dishonest, or incompetent.

Cry me a river. Nearly everything you wrote is of a totalitarian bent, and, if you can't see it, then you're ignorant of history. The desire to "help children" by having the government control their upbringing is purely, simply a totalitarian idea. It's practically Maoism--you want to save children from being "poisoned" by religion at an early age.

None of you seem willing to engage in this argument in a serious manner. You have been nasty, vicious, insulting, completely unreasonable, given me no credit for maintaining my cool throughout this massive dialog, but extremely uncharitable, extremely judgmental, extremely willing to jump to conclusions, and in every way, shape and form, demonstrated yourselves to have nearly subhuman capacities for reasoning, sincerely engaging with newcomers, and with treating them compassionately. If you are what the Christian community has to offer, you utterly shame it.

That's nice.

B. Prokop said...

Lance,

Damn. I was all set to reply dispassionately to your last posting, when "Rank Sophist" did a better job than I could have have hoped.

The fact remains that, were your policy to actually be put into practice, it would result in a totalitarian state intruding into the most personal areas of our lives. Please show me (in concrete, practical steps) how your desires could be accomplished without this result.

(I'll even jump first. I hate cigarettes. I'd love to see them disappear from the world. But I can't conceive of a policy which would accomplish this without imposing an unacceptable level of government intrusion on people's lives. therefore, I will not advocate the banning of cigarettes.)

Don Jindra said...

Lance,

"I take “child abuse” to be, broadly speaking, any actions taken on the part of a parent which are significantly detrimental to the wellbeing of the child over the course of their life."

I don't know how to distinguish between "significantly detrimental" and simply "detrimental." And I'm not sure you can make the "detrimental" tag stick. The tag I prefer to apply to religious upbringing is "irrelevant." In its totality it's usually neither a plus nor a minus. Sometimes it can be detrimental but those are extreme cases, IMO. Sometimes a good swat on the behind is good parenting practice. The fact that that practice can deteriorate into abuse doesn't mean it's always abuse.


"I do not believe it is in a child’s best interests to be brought up to be religious, nor do I believe it is in society’s interests."

Me neither. But you seem to see it as an ominous force -- which it certainly can be -- whereas I see it more as a tool used for whatever evil or good purpose the user desires. And although I'm tempted to agree it's been used for more evil than good (I've sometimes made that case), I also have to admit this is not clear-cut. Playing with religion in large groups does seem to be like playing with matches.


"that we are having debates over abortion and gay marriage, and these turn almost exclusively on what I’d argue are savage or ridiculous religious notions, is one indicator I’d use to support this."

Again, I'm tempted to agree but I can't entirely. There are more issues on the table than those. And even on those we have to ask ourselves: Is religion leading the charge or following? I tend to think religion nearly always follows and rarely leads. People sanctify their cause, but their cause comes from within prior to any religious conviction. I know, for example, that I didn't need any religion to tell me as a young man that the thought of a male approaching me for sex was repugnant. OTOH, females were welcomed. I didn't need religion to give me those feelings. Besides, nether of these issues is related to child abuse. I doubt many children give abortion or homosexuality any thought whatsoever.


"Religions are, generally speaking, not rationally defensible.

But is beauty or love? Why isn't a good romantic comedy pernicious?


"society would be markedly better off were it not taught nonsense about witches, sexual guilt, subordination of women, respect for the authority of the church, and so on."

I agree.


"I think it is unethical to send a child to a Catholic school where they receive compulsory religious education instructing them in the absolute truth of Catholicism even if the child objects, and especially if the parent refuses to permit the child to study other religions. Do you not agree that this is objectionable?"

I would agree -- because of the force issue. But I differ on the blanket statement that this should always be considered a form of child abuse, even without the force. Some kids probably do like that sort of upbringing. So I prefer to judge on a case-by-case basis.

rank sophist said...

Damn. I was all set to reply dispassionately to your last posting, when "Rank Sophist" did a better job than I could have have hoped.

Ha, thanks. Sorry for cutting in, though--after reading his post, I couldn't help myself.

Don Jindra said...

HyperEntity111,

Yes you have taken Harris badly out of context. This is the quote:

"I can be even more inflammatory than that. If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion. I think more people are dying as a result of our religious myths than as a result of any other ideology. I would not say that all human conflict is born of religion or religious differences, but for the human community to be fractured on the basis of religious doctrines that are fundamentally incompatible, in an age when nuclear weapons are proliferating, is a terrifying scenario. I think we do the world a disservice when we suggest that religions are generally benign and not fundamentally divisive."

Harris does not state or imply that teaching your daughter religious beliefs is worse than raping her. He's talking about aggregate effects on society as a whole, not individual cases concerning a specific girl as victim.

Harris assumes the ideology is an active force wielded by its owner towards an enemy, not a passive individual being violated. So he's saying, in effect, it's better to get rid of all religious sentiment than to "cure" all rapists, because there are more victims of religion than of rape. He's not suggesting it's better to be raped than indoctrinated.

You're spinning his quote in a way he didn't intend.

Don Jindra said...

BenYachov,

"You can't prove empirically your senses are valid via empiricism alone."

You can't prove through rationalism that your conclusions are valid via rationalism alone.

The same can be said of any epistemology when considered in isolation.

So what? It merely means everyone must accept some starting point -- on "faith" if you will. The real question is where does it lead and does it seem to lead anywhere?

BenYachov said...

I don't know RS did a very good job but the most telling response is djindra.

He is an Atheist & we have often locked horns with him.

Yet Lance if you can't convince him of all people then I don't know what to tell you.

Weird.

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