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Legitimacy of different belief systems


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Hope this topic is okay.

It's socially accepted to believe in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Native American religions, etc, etc.

There are obvious logical flaws and fallacies with many, if not all, of these religions. Yet, it's not socially acceptable to point those out and criticize them in a widespread way. Maybe it's more okay on a science forum like this, but if a prominent figure in media or a politician did, they would face serious blowback. Even most scientists (Dawkins aside) I don't think would readily jump on pointing out the logical inconsistencies. They would likely be accused of discrimination. But there are some beliefs systems which one could criticize with little blowback. Astrology, witchcraft, crystal-healing, reiki, etc. As a personal example, I've seen a couple lectures of Neil deGrasse Tyson and he readily criticized many of those, but he of course didn't stray into criticizing mainstream religion. It seems it's just a matter of historical precedent.

Do you think this is fair? Should we openly be more critical of religion as a society? Or is that just an unrealistic expectation, given how incorporated it is into people's identity politics and therefore is a constant critique of it actually a form of systemic discrimination- people are irrational all the time, why pick this one issue to lambast them over? Also, should we be more understanding towards these "fringe" belief systems and not be so critical of them, for fairness' sake?

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1 hour ago, Ericchiriboga said:

Hope this topic is okay.

It's socially accepted to believe in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Native American religions, etc, etc.

There are obvious logical flaws and fallacies with many, if not all, of these religions. Yet, it's not socially acceptable to point those out and criticize them in a widespread way. Maybe it's more okay on a science forum like this, but if a prominent figure in media or a politician did, they would face serious blowback. Even most scientists (Dawkins aside) I don't think would readily jump on pointing out the logical inconsistencies. They would likely be accused of discrimination. But there are some beliefs systems which one could criticize with little blowback. Astrology, witchcraft, crystal-healing, reiki, etc. As a personal example, I've seen a couple lectures of Neil deGrasse Tyson and he readily criticized many of those, but he of course didn't stray into criticizing mainstream religion. It seems it's just a matter of historical precedent.

Do you think this is fair? Should we openly be more critical of religion as a society? Or is that just an unrealistic expectation, given how incorporated it is into people's identity politics and therefore is a constant critique of it actually a form of systemic discrimination- people are irrational all the time, why pick this one issue to lambast them over? Also, should we be more understanding towards these "fringe" belief systems and not be so critical of them, for fairness' sake?

I'm with and for what you said in your last sentence. Religion/belief in any form of ID/creator is more a buffer against the evidenced backed,  non caring, indifferent universe we inhabit, and the facts that when we are dead, we are dead. Some, probably most people see that as an uncomfortable disturbing fact, and need an answer or scenario, that over rides that complete indifference of the universe and the finality of death.

People are entitled to fabricate any scenario that can give them that warm inner, fuzzy feeling of comfort. That's their choice. It's when they start railing against science on forums such as this, that will have me personally objecting. The Dawkin's and Krauss' of this world, are in reality explaining the science and scientific methodology, against the continued questioning of science, for those amongst us that prefer evidenced backed reality, rather then fabricated myth.

Edited by beecee
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28 minutes ago, beecee said:

People are entitled to fabricate any scenario that can give them that warm inner, fuzzy feeling of comfort. That's their choice. It's when they start railing against science on forums such as this, that will have me personally objecting.

Beyond this, it gets rather more complicated when we consider them indoctrinating their children or legislating and putting laws in place motivated by said beliefs. Some might consider it “parenting” and instilling values, while others might see it as a form of abuse and harmful to our collective future. 

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1 minute ago, iNow said:

Beyond this, it gets rather more complicated when we consider them indoctrinating their children or legislating and putting laws in place motivated by said beliefs. Some might consider it “parenting” and instilling values, while others might see it as a form of abuse and harmful to our collective future. 

Yes, and obviously, part of the reason for the need of the Dawkin's and Krauss' and the DeGrasse Tyson's of this world. May there good work continue. Not forgetting of course, imo the greatest educator of our time, Carl Sagan.

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2 hours ago, Ericchiriboga said:

Should we openly be more critical of religion as a society? Or is that just an unrealistic expectation, given how incorporated it is into people's identity politics

It really depends on context. Online many of us have been openly critical for tens of years now, whereas IRL it’s sometimes better to just keep quiet. For example, we’ve got some great neighbors, our kids play, and we enjoy their company, but they’re pretty religious. We just don’t talk about it, and that’s okay. People believe all kinds of silliness (like Donald Trump was the best president ever). We need to find ways to continue forward regardless. 

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Christianity and Islam are responsible for some of the most heinous crimes in human history for their perseverant attempts to "proselytize". Judaism is much much less so. In point of fact , Jews themselves have been repeatedly subject to pogroms and holocausts many places around the globe.  

Rights of minority believers ought to be preserved. Be they soul-worshippers or wizards or Yezidis or Druses or whatever. Semi-organized/Organised  Groups that persecute them have to be prosecuted themselves. 

there must be a difference between the world before UN Charter of Human Rights  and after that. 

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4 minutes ago, Prof Reza Sanaye said:

Christianity and Islam are responsible for some of the most heinous crimes in human history

Mostly, it's humans...

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On 4/7/2021 at 7:58 PM, Ericchiriboga said:

Hope this topic is okay.

It's socially accepted to believe in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Native American religions, etc, etc.

There are obvious logical flaws and fallacies with many, if not all, of these religions. Yet, it's not socially acceptable to point those out and criticize them in a widespread way. Maybe it's more okay on a science forum like this, but if a prominent figure in media or a politician did, they would face serious blowback. Even most scientists (Dawkins aside) I don't think would readily jump on pointing out the logical inconsistencies. They would likely be accused of discrimination. But there are some beliefs systems which one could criticize with little blowback. Astrology, witchcraft, crystal-healing, reiki, etc. As a personal example, I've seen a couple lectures of Neil deGrasse Tyson and he readily criticized many of those, but he of course didn't stray into criticizing mainstream religion. It seems it's just a matter of historical precedent.

Do you think this is fair? Should we openly be more critical of religion as a society? Or is that just an unrealistic expectation, given how incorporated it is into people's identity politics and therefore is a constant critique of it actually a form of systemic discrimination- people are irrational all the time, why pick this one issue to lambast them over? Also, should we be more understanding towards these "fringe" belief systems and not be so critical of them, for fairness' sake?

I think a distinction can be drawn between religion and pseudoscience. Astrology and  crystal healing  are pseudoscience, in that they make claims about observable physical phenomena, based on theories for which there is no evidence and which conflict with science. Attacking pseudoscience is fair enough, I would say, for anyone with a scientific education.

Religion, at least in its more reasonable manifestations, is something different from pseudoscience. It is mainly a guide for living one's life, inspired by stories and ideas that don't make testable physical claims. However one can certainly dismiss these ideas and stories, and anyone in a liberal democracy is free to do that. 

Your objection seems to be that figures who rely on the support of the wider public tend to refrain from ridiculing religion. That's a pragmatic choice they make, so as not to alienate believers. It is not forced on them. In fact, the same applies to pseudoscience, in that a politician who ridicules crystal-healing, or homeopathy, risks losing the crystal healers' vote or the homeopath vote. (I recall the elder Bush made the error of saying how much he disliked broccoli, causing consternation in his campaign that he had lost the broccoli farmers' vote!)

 So I don't really see that "fairness" comes into it. 

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2 hours ago, exchemist said:

I think a distinction can be drawn between religion and pseudoscience. Astrology and  crystal healing  are pseudoscience, in that they make claims about observable physical phenomena, based on theories for which there is no evidence and which conflict with science. Attacking pseudoscience is fair enough, I would say, for anyone with a scientific education.

Religion, at least in its more reasonable manifestations, is something different from pseudoscience. It is mainly a guide for living one's life, inspired by stories and ideas that don't make testable physical claims. However one can certainly dismiss these ideas and stories, and anyone in a liberal democracy is free to do that. 

Your objection seems to be that figures who rely on the support of the wider public tend to refrain from ridiculing religion. That's a pragmatic choice they make, so as not to alienate believers. It is not forced on them. In fact, the same applies to pseudoscience, in that a politician who ridicules crystal-healing, or homeopathy, risks losing the crystal healers' vote or the homeopath vote. (I recall the elder Bush made the error of saying how much he disliked broccoli, causing consternation in his campaign that he had lost the broccoli farmers' vote!)

 So I don't really see that "fairness" comes into it. 

Nice post +1

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6 hours ago, exchemist said:

I think a distinction can be drawn between religion and pseudoscience. Astrology and  crystal healing  are pseudoscience, in that they make claims about observable physical phenomena, based on theories for which there is no evidence and which conflict with science. Attacking pseudoscience is fair enough, I would say, for anyone with a scientific education.

Religion, at least in its more reasonable manifestations, is something different from pseudoscience. It is mainly a guide for living one's life, inspired by stories and ideas that don't make testable physical claims. However one can certainly dismiss these ideas and stories, and anyone in a liberal democracy is free to do that. 

Your objection seems to be that figures who rely on the support of the wider public tend to refrain from ridiculing religion. That's a pragmatic choice they make, so as not to alienate believers. It is not forced on them. In fact, the same applies to pseudoscience, in that a politician who ridicules crystal-healing, or homeopathy, risks losing the crystal healers' vote or the homeopath vote. (I recall the elder Bush made the error of saying how much he disliked broccoli, causing consternation in his campaign that he had lost the broccoli farmers' vote!)

 So I don't really see that "fairness" comes into it. 

Quote

" I think a distinction can be drawn between religion and pseudoscience. Astrology and  crystal healing  are pseudoscience, in that they make claims about observable physical phenomena, based on theories for which there is no evidence and which conflict with science.

 

Christianity and Islam do very similar healing claims . . ... 

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3 hours ago, Prof Reza Sanaye said:

Quote

" I think a distinction can be drawn between religion and pseudoscience. Astrology and  crystal healing  are pseudoscience, in that they make claims about observable physical phenomena, based on theories for which there is no evidence and which conflict with science.

 

Christianity and Islam do very similar healing claims . . ... 

You mean, neither claims to heal physical ailments, I presume. Yes, I think that's right.

Or is that not what you mean? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Religion vs pseudoscience are different?? Academically, yes, perhaps, but what's the point? One is a cult, and the other is quackery. Both are threats to advancement of science, knowledge, and the general well being of human life/living standards. The fact they may be different does nothing to validate either belief. 

On 4/8/2021 at 11:06 AM, Prof Reza Sanaye said:

Christianity and Islam are responsible for some of the most heinous crimes in human history for their perseverant attempts to "proselytize". Judaism is much much less so. In point of fact , Jews themselves have been repeatedly subject to pogroms and holocausts many places around the globe.  

Rights of minority believers ought to be preserved. Be they soul-worshippers or wizards or Yezidis or Druses or whatever. Semi-organized/Organised  Groups that persecute them have to be prosecuted themselves. 

there must be a difference between the world before UN Charter of Human Rights  and after that. 

I agree with your take on judaism being perhaps less "heinous". Still, does not validate or justify that cult. Yes, the Holocaust is a Black Page/Chapter in human history, with unspeakable crimes against Jews (and let's not forget the crimes against Muslims too). 

 But it is not mutually inclusive to say well, Jews suffered immensely at different periods in the last 3000 years, so that justifies at least one of our practices to continue to demean women by including in our prayers every morning to thank Yaweh that I (a man) was not born female.  I have no stomach for any religious cult which demeans women, which must include Christainty, Islam, and Judaism. They are all about the subjugation of women. The world will never elevate itself in terms of living standards until we stop the exploitation/subjugation of women. 

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On 4/9/2021 at 4:52 AM, exchemist said:

Religion, at least in its more reasonable manifestations, is something different from pseudoscience. It is mainly a guide for living one's life, inspired by stories and ideas that don't make testable physical claims. However one can certainly dismiss these ideas and stories, and anyone in a liberal democracy is free to do that. 

 

Is Catholicism considered a more reasonable manifestation?

Catholics drink wine and eat hosts not as a symbol of the body and blood of Christ, but as the literal body and blood of Christ. Seems pseudosciency to me. Surely that is a testable claim.

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21 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Is Catholicism considered a more reasonable manifestation?

Catholics drink wine and eat hosts not as a symbol of the body and blood of Christ, but as the literal body and blood of Christ. Seems pseudosciency to me. Surely that is a testable claim.

Haha, that's why I included the qualifier "mainly".😉  But as it happens,  speaking as someone who had a Catholic upbringing, even if I have been semi-detached for many decades now, there is actually no testable claim made for transubstantiation either. See "essence" vs. "accidents", for the traditional (rather itchy-beard, to my mind) way of getting round this.

I would treat the major established Western Christian denominations, including Catholicism, as among the "more reasonable manifestations", along with many branches of Judaism and educated Islam. I know less about other religions but would expect to be able include some of them too.  All of these are mainly a guide for living one's life and  do not try to offer an alternative narrative to science about the way the physical world works.       

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