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Author Topic:   Free will but how free really?
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5064
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 136 of 176 (813858)
07-01-2017 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 134 by New Cat's Eye
07-01-2017 11:17 AM


Here's a chunk of Sam Harris

quote:
While most Americans believe that getting rid of religion is an impossible goal, much of the developed world has already accomplished it. Any account of a “god gene” that causes the majority of Americans to helplessly organize their lives around ancient works of religious fiction must explain why so many inhabitants of other First World societies apparently lack such a gene. The level of atheism throughout the rest of the developed world refutes any argument that religion is somehow a moral necessity. Countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on Earth.

According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005) they are also the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Other analyses paint the same picture: The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious literalism and opposition to evolutionary theory; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD infection and infant mortality.

The same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious superstition and hostility to evolutionary theory, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms.

Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causality--belief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God; each factor may enable the other; or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief. Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, these facts prove that atheism is perfectly compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society; they also prove, conclusively, that religious faith does nothing to ensure a society’s health.

Countries with high levels of atheism also are the most charitable in terms of giving foreign aid to the developing world. The dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values is also belied by other indices of charity. Consider the ratio in salaries between top-tier CEOs and their average employee: in Britain it is 24 to 1; France 15 to 1; Sweden 13 to 1; in the United States, where 83% of the population believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead, it is 475 to 1.

Many a camel, it would seem, expects to squeeze easily through the eye of a needle.



Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-01-2017 11:17 AM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11707
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 137 of 176 (813888)
07-01-2017 8:30 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by Tangle
07-01-2017 11:43 AM


The fact that some people find consolation in a fantasy, doesn't make their beliefs real

Of course.

nor does it deal with the underlying causes of their problems.

If the underlying causes of the problems are dealt with, who are you to say what did or did not do it?

If you deal with the cause, the placebo is no longer required and we can get on with doing more useful things.

It doesn't matter if a placebo is required or not, and even with one you can still get on doing useful things.

But if religion does actually deal with the cause, then it isn't a placebo to begin with.

Well if you're lucky the placebo may last. If not, there's always Prozac.

Right, cause that is dealing with the underlying causes

It does no such thing. You'll have to work a lot harder to demonstrate that.

I doubt that I'll defeat you're prejudice and bias.

Crap. It's evidence that religious belief is not necessary to feel good about life.

I'm not saying it is.

Not only does it look like it, I can confirm that I am giving my opinion. I do have a bias against religion,

I thought so. Have a nice day.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Tangle, posted 07-01-2017 11:43 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 138 by Tangle, posted 07-02-2017 3:38 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5064
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 138 of 176 (813906)
07-02-2017 3:38 AM
Reply to: Message 137 by New Cat's Eye
07-01-2017 8:30 PM


NCE writes:

If the underlying causes of the problems are dealt with, who are you to say what did or did not do it?

I'm a guy on a forum giving an opinion. who are you?

And I'm responding to the evidence that you gave of religious belief helping to reduce stress etc. I'd say that removing the causes of stress itself would be a better plan for all the people rather than just those who have fallen for the placebo of a particular belief system.

I doubt that I'll defeat you're prejudice and bias.

And I yours. But we've all agreed that that isn't our purpose here. Sam Harris has your position covered anyway.

Just before I switched off the radio this morning in disgust at the church service that had started, I heard the priest use the words 'we need to become a human sacrifice acceptable to god.' Well fuck you, I thought.

We spend a lot of time on these boards discussing religious belief in theoretical terms. I occasionally have to attend church services in various brands of Christian and Muslim settings for weddings and funerals. And what a pile of offensive, primitive superstitious, drivel we have to subordinate ourselves to during those seervices. Sit down, stand up, kneel down, worship him, be frightened of him, believe in him. 'This is his body and blood that was sacrificed for you.' And long riffs and rants of total crap made up by the idiot in fancy dress that we're asked to swallow whole. It turns my stomach - it's truly offensive.

The real stuff of worship needs to be discussed more.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-01-2017 8:30 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 141 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 9:55 AM Tangle has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 2964
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.3


(1)
Message 139 of 176 (813979)
07-03-2017 8:53 AM
Reply to: Message 135 by Tangle
07-01-2017 11:43 AM


Tangle writes:

The fact that some people find consolation in a fantasy, doesn't make their beliefs real nor does it deal with the underlying causes of their problems. If you deal with the cause, the placebo is no longer required and we can get on with doing more useful things.

Are you trying to say it's impossible for someone to find better support from religion than from objective scientific findings?

I don't think that's true.
And all it takes is one example to refute it.

People are different.

Can you think of a person who is afraid of death?
Being afraid of death and the unknown is a problem almost all people have an issue with.

Myself, I find solace in the fact that no one has such answers. Therefore, I don't feel bad without knowing myself, and I feel better.

But what if something like that doesn't work for someone else?

Have you ever heard of someone feeling better because somebody gives them a hug and says: "Don't worry, you're safe now, it's all going to be okay."

It can't possibly be true.
No one can read the future.
Everyone knows no person can read the future.

But, still, this helps many people.
Sometimes, for some people, it can be the only thing that helps them.

Going back to being afraid of death, some people cannot find peace in the 'unknown.' They require a feeling that "everything's going to be okay" even if they don't understand how that's going to happen.

God (or "religion" in more general terms) can provide such an "answer" for such people who need more of a "don't worry, that's taken care of" thought. Even if there's still a itching doubt... just as I still have an itching doubt about 'not knowing what's going to happen when I die.' It doesn't matter... an 'itching doubt' is much better than a paralyzing fear.

Are you trying to say that it's impossible for such a person to exist?
I don't think I can prove one exists.
But, then again, you can't really prove that non-religious ideas provide an equal (or better) amount of solace anyway.
Because "solace" or "inner-peace" or whatever is not a measurable thing. We can only take people's word for it.

But, if you're trying to say that it's impossible for a person to exist that requires religious-ideas to get around paralyzing fears... I would, really, laugh in your face. As the anecdotal evidence (the only evidence available for such things... even against such things...) implies that you are completely wrong.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Tangle, posted 07-01-2017 11:43 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 140 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 9:32 AM Stile has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5064
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 140 of 176 (813980)
07-03-2017 9:32 AM
Reply to: Message 139 by Stile
07-03-2017 8:53 AM


Stile writes:

Are you trying to say it's impossible for someone to find better support from religion than from objective scientific findings?

Obviously not. Wherever did you get that idea from?

Are you trying to say that it's impossible for such a person to exist?

Er, no. I'm beginning to think you're building a very large straw man.

God (or "religion" in more general terms) can provide such an "answer" for such people who need more of a "don't worry, that's taken care of" thought.

You're just repeating the 'opium of the people' stuff.

My postion is not that religion doesn't help some people sometimes. It's that because we know it's a fiction AND we know that social structures that don't have religions as their basal systems are better at making more people happier more of the time we'd be more sensible trying to build them. Particularly as we know they're dying anyway.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Stile, posted 07-03-2017 8:53 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 143 by Stile, posted 07-03-2017 11:19 AM Tangle has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11707
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 141 of 176 (813982)
07-03-2017 9:55 AM
Reply to: Message 138 by Tangle
07-02-2017 3:38 AM


The real stuff of worship needs to be discussed more.

Yeah, which makes me wonder why you're focused on ridiculing a childish cartoon version of religion. But you admitted you're just biased so have fun with that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 138 by Tangle, posted 07-02-2017 3:38 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 142 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 11:09 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5064
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 142 of 176 (813995)
07-03-2017 11:09 AM
Reply to: Message 141 by New Cat's Eye
07-03-2017 9:55 AM


NCE writes:

Yeah, which makes me wonder why you're focused on ridiculing a childish cartoon version of religion. But you admitted you're just biased so have fun with that.

I agree that it's both ridiculous and childish but it's not a cartoon version, it's the version I see and hear when I attend these services - in different denominations, though mainly Catholic and Anglican. I've no reason to believe that these services are anything out of the ordinary, in fact the reverse - they're pretty low key and liberal compared with some of the horrors I occasionally see from American evangelists.

The nonsense spouted at these services probably sounds reasonable to you, you've normalised it and it suits YOUR bias. But to an uninfected outsider it's crazed.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 141 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 9:55 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 144 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 11:30 AM Tangle has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 2964
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 143 of 176 (813996)
07-03-2017 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 140 by Tangle
07-03-2017 9:32 AM


Tangle writes:

My position is not that religion doesn't help some people sometimes. It's that because we know it's a fiction AND we know that social structures that don't have religions as their basal systems are better at making more people happier more of the time we'd be more sensible trying to build them. Particularly as we know they're dying anyway.

Must have read you wrong, then.
I have no issues with such a position.

I would only have issues on some sort of 'ban of religion' or something like that.

I see no problems with 'letting religion die out' or even 'promoting secular social systems' in their stead. Especially on the basis of better results.

I see religion as a way for certain people to use personally in order to have a healthy mind.
I think it will always have it's own promoters and affiliates.
And I, too, hope it will be 'reduced' somewhat from it's current size in America and Canada.

Canada still has a government-funded Catholic school board.
I'm against such a thing.
Not to the point of doing much about it, just enough to check the "fund public school system" as opposed to the "fund Catholic school system" on my taxes. (Yes, in Canada, we get the choice on where our school-taxes will go... as long as you're a home-owner, I think?)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 140 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 9:32 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 145 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 11:40 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

    
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11707
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 144 of 176 (813998)
07-03-2017 11:30 AM
Reply to: Message 142 by Tangle
07-03-2017 11:09 AM


The nonsense spouted at these services probably sounds reasonable to you, you've normalised it and it suits YOUR bias. But to an uninfected outsider it's crazed.

It seems to me like you are seeing church as something that is done to you rather than something that you participate in.

It's like a child complaining about the chore of taking piano lessons instead of seeing the opportunity to learn to play music.

But of course if you think music is bullshit then the lessons aren't going to be anything but a chore.

...

I'll give you the American evangelists, though, those people are insane.

In my journey through finding God, I felt a strong pull to evangelize for all of about 2 hours


This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 11:09 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 146 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 11:48 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5064
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 145 of 176 (814001)
07-03-2017 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 143 by Stile
07-03-2017 11:19 AM


Stile writes:

I would only have issues on some sort of 'ban of religion' or something like that.

Banning religions doesn't work - otherwise I might just be tempted..... Getting them outside of all things state though is a different game.

They should not be in schools, they should have no political appointments (we have bishops in our second house), they shouldn't be turned to automatically when matters of so-called morality are being decided and they certainly shouldn't be given tax breaks. If we must have them, let them stand on their own two feet.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 143 by Stile, posted 07-03-2017 11:19 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5064
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 146 of 176 (814004)
07-03-2017 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 144 by New Cat's Eye
07-03-2017 11:30 AM


NCE writes:

It seems to me like you are seeing church as something that is done to you rather than something that you participate in.

Well it IS done to people. From childhood and people are forced to participate until they're old enough to see through the nonsense. When I attend these services it's something that is being done to me - I'm there only because a friend or relative wants me there so I put up with it.

It's like a child complaining about the chore of taking piano lessons instead of seeing the opportunity to learn to play music.

But of course if you think music is bullshit then the lessons aren't going to be anything but a chore.

What bollox. I'm not a child, I've learnt the same stuff everyone born into a religious family learns and having learned it and passed all the tests I found out that it was utter rubbish. It's just plain embarassing seeing adults behave that way.

It would be really interesting to post a transcript of a service, if I could stomach it.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 144 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 11:30 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 147 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 11:55 AM Tangle has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11707
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 147 of 176 (814006)
07-03-2017 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 146 by Tangle
07-03-2017 11:48 AM


What bollox. I'm not a child,

You're acting like one.

It's just plain embarassing seeing adults behave that way.

Well I'm proud of myself and my accomplishments and I owe a lot to my religion.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 146 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 11:48 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 148 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 12:50 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5064
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 148 of 176 (814022)
07-03-2017 12:50 PM
Reply to: Message 147 by New Cat's Eye
07-03-2017 11:55 AM


NCE writes:

You're acting like one.

Well my dad's bigger than your dad so there, neh. (You really said that, wow.)

Well I'm proud of myself and my accomplishments

Good for you.

and I owe a lot to my religion.

And how would you know? Perhaps if you lived in Oslo and had never been troubled by irrational belief you could have acheived more.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 147 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 11:55 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 149 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 12:58 PM Tangle has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11707
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 149 of 176 (814027)
07-03-2017 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 148 by Tangle
07-03-2017 12:50 PM


and I owe a lot to my religion.

And how would you know?

Embracing God directly empowered me to make the changes to my life that I needed to make in order to survive.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 148 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 12:50 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 150 by Tangle, posted 07-03-2017 1:05 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5064
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 150 of 176 (814030)
07-03-2017 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 149 by New Cat's Eye
07-03-2017 12:58 PM


NCE writes:

Embracing God directly empowered me to make the changes to my life that I needed to make in order to survive.

Had you lived in a different/fairer/more welfare-based society you may not have encountered the problems that required the insertion of a fantasy to fix, or at least found a less crazy way of dealing with them.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 149 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 12:58 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 151 by New Cat's Eye, posted 07-03-2017 2:56 PM Tangle has responded

  
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