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Itoero

Would the world be a better place without religion?

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-Good behavior is in your opinion caused by religion but the bad stuff not necessary. Why?

-Can you give me data of good behavior that comes from Muslim communities?

-There are so many anecdotes/data from criminality/terrorism (also in Muslim countries).

If that's not caused by religion then good behavior is also not caused by religion.

Then religion has no use.

 

It's not concerning semantics, it's concerning the understanding of confounding variables. I'm not trying to belittle you but multiple people on multiple threads on a science forum have said your understanding of the scientific method has gaps. Doesn't that get you thinking you might be missing something? That's no big deal, we're all in a glass house, but you don't even try. For instance, you haven't even looked at the data i provided - i know that because it supports your position, yet you have said nothing about it. Fair enough if you don't want to look at it but it's disingenuous to then say 'Can you please just answer the question'.

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It's not concerning semantics, it's concerning the understanding of confounding variables. I'm not trying to belittle you but multiple people on multiple threads on a science forum have said your understanding of the scientific method has gaps. Doesn't that get you thinking you might be missing something? That's no big deal, we're all in a glass house, but you don't even try. For instance, you haven't even looked at the data i provided - i know that because it supports your position, yet you have said nothing about it. Fair enough if you don't want to look at it but it's disingenuous to then say 'Can you please just answer the question'.

My ideas are often confirmed (in other words) by (social)scientists...I just don't explain it very well...

I try to base myself on evidence, nothing else.

If you have data which prove there is no causation then I would like to see those.

I honestly did not notice them, my eyes are 'messed up'.

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My ideas are often confirmed (in other words) by (social)scientists...I just don't explain it very well...

I try to base myself on evidence, nothing else.

If you have data which prove there is no causation then I would like to see those.

I honestly did not notice them, my eyes are 'messed up'.

 

There was one in post 423 but the one i think you'll find more interesting is in post 425. I put these together myself so take them with a pinch of salt, but i hoped they would be a good spring board for debate.

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There was one in post 423 but the one i think you'll find more interesting is in post 425. I put these together myself so take them with a pinch of salt, but i hoped they would be a good spring board for debate.

That does not prove there is no causation.

If you say there are confounding variables then you should give examples. If you can't give any then it's just a belief.

 

this bothers me:

-In the thread 'If humanity becomes extinct...?' you tried to disprove me with a study that does not prove anything...and then you say I don't have evidence and deal with pseudoscience. If a dog feels improvement by eating grass (or other green stuff) then that doesn't mean he only eats it when he's sick.

You use a study without understanding the real meaning.

Edited by Itoero

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That's not how it works. The onus is yours to prove causation, not ours to disprove it.

 

If I claim there's an invisible dragon beneath my chair, the correct approach is to rightly treat the claim as bullshit until I support it, not to ask you to disprove it.

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That does not prove there is no causation.

If you say there are confounding variables then you should give examples. If you can't give any then it's just a belief.

 

Quite right, saying correlation does not equal causation doesn't prove lack of causation. But it doesn't prove causation either. It is evidence of causation, as you cannot have causation without correlation. But we know of many phenomena which are correlated with no causation, so it is incumbent upon us to check more rigorously. As iNow points out usually the person making a claim should be doing this rigorous checking.

 

Checking more rigorously might involve having some expert knowledge in the area and so you can reasonably speculate what other variables might be having an effect, or it may require some data mining techniques. So for instance, religiosity might be correlated with poverty (for whatever reason), and poverty correlated with violence. Lack of education is another variable that might influence violence. A sociologist should be able to come up with loads more potential variables.

 

Once we have chosen some variables we need to collect data such that we know the religiosity of a country (or whatever unit of measurement you choose, which is not a trivial choice) as well as a measure of violence, poverty and education (in the minimum scenario). This is why your repetitions of citing Islamic violence have been waved away - no one is denying they happened, but they are just one of the four variables we need.

 

Is this all agreeable?

 

 

this bothers me:

-In the thread 'If humanity becomes extinct...?' you tried to disprove me with a study that does not prove anything...and then you say I don't have evidence and deal with pseudoscience. If a dog feels improvement by eating grass (or other green stuff) then that doesn't mean he only eats it when he's sick.

You use a study without understanding the real meaning.

 

First, i didn't try to disprove you, i tried to disprove the proposition put forward by you that dogs eat grass when unwell to make themselves feel better. It's a subtle but important distinction.

 

So in that study 68% of dogs eat plants on a regular basis, of those 91% ate plants when well and 79% ate grass, meaning about 5% of all dogs eat grass are unwell. We don't know if they happened to be unwell and were just eating grass because they would have anyway, or because they thought it would make them better. Therefore, what little data we have does not support the notion. It was a small study and far from perfect, but it is the only study on the subject in existence - you are free to conduct a more rigorous study.

 

Open a new thread on the matter if you want to chat further about dogs eating grass, its way off topic here (again).

 

 

But to the point, i'm not sure why you feel providing some peer reviewed articles in not proving anything. If you could reference such studies religiosity is causative of violence then you might have a case to feel aggrieved.

 

Do you agree such articles would be helpful?

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That does not prove there is no causation.

If you say there are confounding variables then you should give examples. If you can't give any then it's just a belief.

 

 

Why are you so desperate to frame the Muslims for the worlds evil?

 

Perhaps it gives you succor to believe the worlds black and white and easy to explain with fairy stories, sounds kind of religious to me. ;)

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Jumping in late on a thread without having done more than give it a cursory reading I still suspect there's an elephant in the room nobody want's to acknowledge, the content of so called holy books, their rationality or lack of it etc.

For the sake of argument let's assume the Old Testament/Torah gives an accurate description of 'God'. If so we can justify the present tribe of Israel's militaristic stance towards other semitic tribes in the middle east. Given God as portrayed in The Old Testament/Torah is a vicious, temperamental, vindictive and unpredictable tyrant with no consistent moral code what can we expect from his followers, Christian or Jewish?

On the other hand we may ask does an analysis of so called holy books illustrate in any meaningful way the actions of, for instance, today's Muslim extremists?

What are we to make of the claim the following passage is only a direction to Allah's followers at the time of writing and not a prescription for today?

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

"When ye encounter the infidels*, strike off their heads,till ye have made a great slaughter among them, and of the rest make fast the fetters."

* The Meccans and other unbelievers of Muhammad's time.

The Hanefites suppose this law to apply only to the battle of Bedr. The Shiites take it as of universal application. Who is right and does it matter?

 

I want also to draw attention to a weakness in the vast majority of criticism of religion encountered too often of late. Those who find religion a dangerous phenomena, as I do, too often refuse to acquire any familiarity with scripture and even less acquaint themselves with recent biblical and comparative religious studies..

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And to return to the original question posed at the start of this thread. To ask would the world be better off without religion appears to assume religion is a idea divorced from human nature and can simply be left behind like an outmoded and discredited ideology. Not that easy kiddies. Our species is prone to experiencing 'religious states' sometimes induced deliberately by an elite priesthood yet often induced by secular forces we see at work at events like Hitler's Nuremberg rallies and even rock concerts. So, how do we modify this susceptibility to mindless group think? If by some miracle we did what would we be left with ?

Edited by Dissily Mordentroge

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Jumping in late on a thread without having done more than give it a cursory reading I still suspect there's an elephant in the room nobody want's to acknowledge, the content of so called holy books, their rationality or lack of it etc.

 

Spotted and dealt with on multiple pages.

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A very odd conclusion.

 

I've invested a lot of time and effort posting in this thread, why should I invest even more time and effort to bring you up to speed?

 

What's in it for me? :unsure:

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That's not how it works. The onus is yours to prove causation, not ours to disprove it.

 

If I claim there's an invisible dragon beneath my chair, the correct approach is to rightly treat the claim as bullshit until I support it, not to ask you to disprove it.

So then when religious people do good things then it's also not because of religion?

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So then when religious people do good things then it's also not because of religion?

Pretty much

Or, more specifically... could be, but it would be wrong to assume religion is the "cause" when the two are sometimes merely correlated

Your current position is untenable.

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So then when religious people do good things then it's also not because of religion?

 

That's not only fallacious but it doesn't even come close to addressing his point; not so much a 'fly-by' more a 'didn't even get of the ground-by'.

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Quite right, saying correlation does not equal causation doesn't prove lack of causation. But it doesn't prove causation either. It is evidence of causation, as you cannot have causation without correlation. But we know of many phenomena which are correlated with no causation, so it is incumbent upon us to check more rigorously. As iNow points out usually the person making a claim should be doing this rigorous checking.

 

Checking more rigorously might involve having some expert knowledge in the area and so you can reasonably speculate what other variables might be having an effect, or it may require some data mining techniques. So for instance, religiosity might be correlated with poverty (for whatever reason), and poverty correlated with violence. Lack of education is another variable that might influence violence. A sociologist should be able to come up with loads more potential variables.

 

Once we have chosen some variables we need to collect data such that we know the religiosity of a country (or whatever unit of measurement you choose, which is not a trivial choice) as well as a measure of violence, poverty and education (in the minimum scenario). This is why your repetitions of citing Islamic violence have been waved away - no one is denying they happened, but they are just one of the four variables we need.

 

Is this all agreeable?

More or less.

Criminality and religion are not really correlated(I'm sorry if I said so), religion (Islam) increases the probability of someone becomes a criminal (mostly because of education). There are of course many factors that influence this process...most Muslims are not criminal.

 

I still don't understand how you can deny causation.

-Muslims killed people in Paris because Charlie Hebdo made cartoons of Muhammed.

-In islam countries, apostates are often punished and can even be killed.

-In Saudi Arabia there is a law that states that all atheists are terrorists.

How can you deny that religion causers those things?

I've said those things before but I never got an answer.

 

First, i didn't try to disprove you, i tried to disprove the proposition put forward by you that dogs eat grass when unwell to make themselves feel better. It's a subtle but important distinction.

 

So in that study 68% of dogs eat plants on a regular basis, of those 91% ate plants when well and 79% ate grass, meaning about 5% of all dogs eat grass are unwell. We don't know if they happened to be unwell and were just eating grass because they would have anyway, or because they thought it would make them better. Therefore, what little data we have does not support the notion. It was a small study and far from perfect, but it is the only study on the subject in existence - you are free to conduct a more rigorous study.

 

Open a new thread on the matter if you want to chat further about dogs eating grass, its way off topic here (again).

 

 

But to the point, i'm not sure why you feel providing some peer reviewed articles in not proving anything. If you could reference such studies religiosity is causative of violence then you might have a case to feel aggrieved.

 

Do you agree such articles would be helpful?

I agree it's helpful.

I did not say that dogs eat grass when they feel sick.

My dog does it but that's because he doesn't like green stuff. It doesn't say anything about the behavior of other dogs.

 

This is what I said: "My dog eats grass when he has a problem with shitting. Dogs don't have bacteria to digest cellulose so when they eat grass, it enlargens the poo and makes things to go more smooth...he self medicates :) (medical science)

"

Pretty much

Or, more specifically... could be, but it would be wrong to assume religion is the "cause" when the two are sometimes merely correlated

Your current position is untenable.

I never said religion is 'the' cause.

It (Islam) forms a breeding ground which makes it more likely for people to become criminal.

 

Apostates (people that no longer believe in Allah) risk punishment and can even be killed.

 

You deny that's because of religion?

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Quick 2 cents - I think you are right on both sides of this - some people only do good because of religion and some will do good anyway and some will in spite of. I think it is complicated. It is an interesting conversation and I have enjoyed watching it play out from both sides of the discussion. After my fairly recent conversion to atheism I find these types of debate very interesting and understand viewpoints from both camps.

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Quick 2 cents - I think you are right on both sides of this - some people only do good because of religion and some will do good anyway and some will in spite of. I think it is complicated. It is an interesting conversation and I have enjoyed watching it play out from both sides of the discussion. After my fairly recent conversion to atheism I find these types of debate very interesting and understand viewpoints from both camps.

 

 

The only common denominator is kindness - to which both sides are privy, as it's an innate moral. The problem I see with this is what I see from most atheist arguments; god can't be real, so the bible can't be real, not a balanced argument...

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I've invested a lot of time and effort posting in this thread, why should I invest even more time and effort to bring you up to speed?

 

What's in it for me? :unsure:

 

A simple yes or no would have sufficed.

Edited by Dissily Mordentroge

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I still don't understand how you can deny causation.

-Muslims killed people in Paris because Charlie Hebdo made cartoons of Muhammed.

-In islam countries, apostates are often punished and can even be killed.

-In Saudi Arabia there is a law that states that all atheists are terrorists.

How can you deny that religion causers those things?

I've said those things before but I never got an answer.

 

The question you are failing to address is whether all these things would occur without Islam, or without religion at all.

 

A few Muslims murdered people because of a perceived insult to Muhammad. Without Islam that particular event would not have happened. But without Islam, or religion, would a group with some identity still exist that would be quick to take offence and kill. Human history suggests emphatically yes: our tribalistic behaviours are deeply ingrained.

 

I hypothesise that it is these evolved group behaviours that are the cause of such violence and oppression - not any particular group (if there could be said to be one cause for quite complex behaviours).

 

Now, it is perfectly reasonable to ask whether the beliefs of a group make them more prone to violence. As you point out, if someone says they are killing in the name of god you should believe them. But the Koran is no more violent than the Bible, yet there are currently different levels of violence in adherents. So what is the difference? Well, the socio-political landscape is entirely different. I would suggest it has something to do with that. Simply saying 'Muslims did it', is an appeal to tribalism. Do you want to get rid of religion, or do you want to get rid of the violence and oppression inherent in being human? If by satisfying the trying the latter we also do the former so be it, but the focus should be squarely on reducing hatred at the root (the hearts of people). Focusing on particular manifestations is like playing an awful pop-up game - we smack one on the head, just for another to pop up.

 

 

I think it is complicated.

 

I would settle with that for a conclusion to this thread.

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_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Do you want to get rid of religion, or do you want to get rid of the violence and oppression inherent in being human? If by satisfying the trying the latter we also do the former so be it, but the focus should be squarely on reducing hatred at the root (the hearts of people). _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

 

Why can't we admit that religion, violence and appression are all the result of the dark side of our species evolution and admit religion is both cause and effect?

Edited by Dissily Mordentroge

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Why can't we admit that religion, violence and appression are all the result of the dark side of our species evolution and admit religion is both cause and effect?

 

Because it's not true.

I think this very good debate is pertinent. Well argued, for the most part, from both sides. Includes Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams among others. Bit long though.

 

 

Dissily if you don't want to read the thread, then please, at least, watch this from 1:22.

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Because it's not true.

 

Dissily if you don't want to read the thread, then please, at least, watch this from 1:22.

I'll view that this evening. Always enjoy a Cambridge or Oxford debate.

Maybe if I'd expressed myself more clearly by asserting "Why can't we admit that religion, violence and oppression are often the result of the dark side of our species evolution and admit religion can be both cause and effect?" I hope you're not going to claim there's nothing dark about our species religious urges? Anyhow, more after I've digested the erudite Cambridge approach.

A cursory viewing of the first speaker impresses apart from his confused approach to the origins of, and need for morality.

 

 

The only common denominator is kindness - to which both sides are privy, as it's an innate moral. The problem I see with this is what I see from most atheist arguments; god can't be real, so the bible can't be real, not a balanced argument...

The problem I see with 'God can't be real' is in order to convince others something doesn't exist one requires an agreed definition of that something.

(Aquinas, if he was with us, might assert the All Being must exist, that is 'God', otherwise nothing can exist)

As the religious keep telling us 'God' is beyond definition and atheists tell us 'God' is a meaningless concept upon what basis can the discussion continue?

 

The question you are failing to address is whether all these things would occur without Islam, or without religion at all.

 

A few Muslims murdered people because of a perceived insult to Muhammad. Without Islam that particular event would not have happened. But without Islam, or religion, would a group with some identity still exist that would be quick to take offence and kill. Human history suggests emphatically yes: our tribalistic behaviours are deeply ingrained.

 

I hypothesise that it is these evolved group behaviours that are the cause of such violence and oppression - not any particular group (if there could be said to be one cause for quite complex behaviours).

 

Now, it is perfectly reasonable to ask whether the beliefs of a group make them more prone to violence. As you point out, if someone says they are killing in the name of god you should believe them. But the Koran is no more violent than the Bible, yet there are currently different levels of violence in adherents. So what is the difference? Well, the socio-political landscape is entirely different. I would suggest it has something to do with that. Simply saying 'Muslims did it', is an appeal to tribalism. Do you want to get rid of religion, or do you want to get rid of the violence and oppression inherent in being human? If by satisfying the trying the latter we also do the former so be it, but the focus should be squarely on reducing hatred at the root (the hearts of people). Focusing on particular manifestations is like playing an awful pop-up game - we smack one on the head, just for another to pop up.

 

 

 

I would settle with that for a conclusion to this thread.

On the surface a cogent argument until you consider the evidence of evolutionary psychology which appears to tell us the urge to tribalism and to organised religion come from identical aspects of our species nature. Religion though adds a layer of 'God's on our side' as the central justification for more slaughter and cruelty than I care to think about. Granted secular ideologies can unleash similar forces but they mostly fade as entities far faster than organised religion which holds onto power with a demonstrated ruthlessness over many centuries. The highbred of religious authority with the power to govern, as in medieval christianity and today's Saudi Arabia and Iran tells us something of the dangers of unleashing that ruthlessness 'in the name of God".

Having now viewed all of the Cambridge debate previously recommended I find one aspect of religion not given enough attention, the urge to political power at the core of so many religious movements. Any priesthood that claims it's role to be a necessary intermediary between the divine ( substitute whatever term you want) and this realm grants itself unjustified power to rule our lives. Any acceptance by the general community to such cosmic elitism is to put our heads on the chopping block of whatever arbitrary whim said priesthood wishes to pursue from burning at the stake, stoning to death, amputation of limbs, all the way up to genocide.

"The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall be thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his annointed." 1St Samuel.Ch:2.V:10.

Edited by Dissily Mordentroge

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On the surface a cogent argument until you consider the evidence of evolutionary psychology which appears to tell us the urge to tribalism and to organised religion come from identical aspects of our species nature. Religion though adds a layer of 'God's on our side' as the central justification for more slaughter and cruelty than I care to think about. Granted secular ideologies can unleash similar forces but they mostly fade as entities far faster than organised religion which holds onto power with a demonstrated ruthlessness over many centuries. The highbred of religious authority with the power to govern, as in medieval christianity and today's Saudi Arabia and Iran tells us something of the dangers of unleashing that ruthlessness 'in the name of God".

 

If there is evidence then you should be able to provide some references. Identical is a strong word.

 

But i generally agree in removing religion from nationhood. This is part of the reason i use the word spiritual instead of religious. As soon as someone says they are religious the question which one naturally follows. If someone says they are spiritual it is much harder for others, and themselves, to associate a label with it.

 

 

Having now viewed all of the Cambridge debate previously recommended I find one aspect of religion not given enough attention, the urge to political power at the core of so many religious movements. Any priesthood that claims it's role to be a necessary intermediary between the divine ( substitute whatever term you want) and this realm grants itself unjustified power to rule our lives.

 

As i understand it Catholicism is the only religion that asserts the clergy is a necessary intermediary to the divine. Part of the Reformation was about removing this necessity - yet the UK does not officially (or in practice, where are the 26 scientists given seats in the House of Lords?) have separation of church and state.

 

The will to power is a human trait and religion, nationalism and identity politics have always been prone to it. For instance, the socialist agenda was entirely subsumed by dictators in soviet Russia. Take away religion and politicians will just subvert some other identity of a target population. Religion is a tempting one though, given its power to cross borders. By targeting religion specifically we are treating the symptom not the cause while alienating some of our religious brethren.

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