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we are not to call one another's beliefs "nonsense".

So basically you want us to all lie to each other... to be insincere, inauthentic, and to mask our true thoughts because we can't handle the fact that some truths hurt peoples feelings? Yeah... Good luck with that.

 

 

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/02/universal-morality/

We should not feel constrained to assert what we think is an objective truth — that such behavior is wrong — for fear that it will be taken as subjective meddling or demagoguery, Harris argued. There is a moral imperative not to hold one’s tongue but rather to speak out.

 

“Who are we not to say [that it’s wrong]?” he asked. “Who are we to pretend that we know so little about human well being that we have to be nonjudgmental about a practice like this?”

 

We can no longer respect and tolerate vast differences of opinion of what constitutes basic humanity any more than we can take seriously different opinions about how disease spreads or what it takes to make buildings and airplanes safe.

Edited by Cap'n Refsmmat
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Its going to be very difficult to argue a point and not get personal where relegion is involved though. So many people really do hold their beliefs to extreme levels and anyone arguing against it will seem to be personally attacking them.

 

It shouldn't be this way but unfortunately it is. If people have a differernce of opinion in, say, polictics, they are actively encouraged to discuss/argue there side of the coin until they come to a agreement (well supposed to). However, once relegion is mentioned, all of a sudden your not allowed to discuss/argue your side becuse its "disrespectful" to the others beliefs.

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No, you can argue your side. You just can't call the other side stupid while you do it.

 

I certainly want people to discuss their views until they come to an agreement. But I know that saying "this is nonsense" or "you must be stupid" does not help achieve that.

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Its going to be very difficult to argue a point and not get personal where relegion is involved though. So many people really do hold their beliefs to extreme levels and anyone arguing against it will seem to be personally attacking them.

 

It shouldn't be this way but unfortunately it is. If people have a differernce of opinion in, say, polictics, they are actively encouraged to discuss/argue there side of the coin until they come to a agreement (well supposed to). However, once relegion is mentioned, all of a sudden your not allowed to discuss/argue your side becuse its "disrespectful" to the others beliefs.

 

In much the same way, nobody would take issue if we were arguing with a birther about Obama being born in the US/Hawaii and if we called their arguments that he was not, in fact, born in the US "nonsense," or if somebody claimed that failure to bail out the banking industry last year would not have resulted in complete economic collapse and we called that "nonsense," but suddenly when religious belief is involved that word is off-limits?

 

We tell people in the forums all the time that their ideas are nonsense. Just look at people who think they have perpetual motion machines or that plate tectonics is a failed theory. Now, here in the P&R forum, the argument is being made that we need to invoke special pleading and double standards? Come on, really?

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What is posted in Religion necessarily consists of opinions. There are no objective facts about God or Zeus. Comparing it to science is a bad analogy.

 

If you insist on attacking others' beliefs, this forum will turn into what the previous forum was: a cesspool, where many threads end up closed and many members end up with infractions.

 

Perhaps you believe that it's possible to run a forum where members freely call each other idiots and everyone is happy and enjoys participation. But I have the benefit of several years of experience watching the previous forum, and I know it won't work.

 

Now. You know it's possible to explain to someone the error in their argument without telling them they're a moron. The personal attack adds nothing to the argument. (Does it help your point to accuse someone of stupidity?) So if you want to discuss, do it without the attack.

 

If you insist on continuing with personal attacks, you will no longer be allowed to post in the religion forum. That goes for everyone, though fortunately nobody has resorted to personal attacks so far.

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We tell people in the forums all the time that their ideas are nonsense. Just look at people who think they have perpetual motion machines or that plate tectonics is a failed theory.

Yes, but until they become persistently block-headed most people try to help them see their errors in a constructive fashion.

 

Now, here in the P&R forum, the argument is being made that we need to invoke special pleading and double standards? Come on, really?

The only reason it is pointed out in the religion forum is because some see religion as a soft target, and need it pointing out to them.

 

There is room for diplomacy on all of the SFN boards. This one is not special in that regard - we just want members to be very clear on the policy that the mods will be working to.

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Not matter what the subject, calling people idiots doesn't get a discuss/arguement anywhere anyway. All it leads to is people making personal attacks on each other and not talking about the topic.

 

There is definately a feeling that once relgion is mentioned, you should just stop and accept whatever the other beleives; I personally think that is wrong. But as Cap'n Refsmmat points out, this forum is going to be mainly about peoples opinions not facts and so there is no right or wrong anwsers (ignoring subjects with evidence for them)

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What is posted in Religion necessarily consists of opinions.

You are sorely mistaken, and let me explain why.

 

These discussions inevitably boil down to the issue of existence. When all of these lofty and heady discussions get distilled, that is the central issue to which we ALWAYS return... claims of the existence of whatever god these people believe in.

 

The claim of existence is NOT an opinion, it is an assertion. It is a statement presented as fact without any acknowledgment of uncertainty, and those claims are subject to the same scrutiny, criticism, and evisceration as are ALL OTHER CLAIMS and assertions made on this board and also in our everyday lives.

 

Those claims of existence are being presented not as opinions, but as facts... as truths representative of this reality in which we exist, and are therefore legitimate targets for criticism. Unfortunately, any and all criticism is deemed "offensive" and those presenting them castigated for lacking "tact," but nobody has a right not to be offended, nor do they have a right to put forth assertions without backing them up with evidence and expect to be taken seriously.

 

 

Again, all of these discussions distill down to that central premise... that central question of existence. In all of these discussions, those putting forth the existence claim in an affirmative manner have NOTHING other than personal faith in support, and therefore their assertion is rightly dismissed as nonsense. If they are offended by their faith being called nonsense, then that's really too bad. Their offense or sensitivity to criticism makes the label no less valid or true.

 

I say this because we would EQUALLY reject as nonsense someone arguing for the existence of Thor or Zeus based on faith alone. I say this because we would EQUALLY reject as nonsense someone arguing for the existence of unicorns, leprechauns, alien abduction, or magical butt fairies based on their personal faith alone. I say this because we would EQUALLY reject as nonsense someone arguing for perpetual motion machines, that relativity is wrong, or that evolution fails to explain the world around us based on their personal faith alone. In short... In all of these other arenas where claims and assertions are being made we would dismiss their claims and assertions in the absence of objective evidence as nonsense, and rightly so.

 

 

For you to suggest that religion and theist belief be treated differently... to be held to alternative standard than the one to which we hold EVERYTHING ELSE IN OUR WORLD stinks of special pleading, shows that you wish to apply a double standard, and evidences the fact that you are truly not comfortable having open and visceral dialog on these issues here at your site. That's fine, but make up your mind... You can't have it both ways.

 

 

You either have a P&R forum where people shred nonsense for what it is, or you realize that you're not comfortable with that happening at your site and you close it down altogether like you did previously.

 

Your attempts to reside in this middle area are only going to fail, and they are going to fail hard (mostly because this site is populated with a membership who are reasonable, rational, and who require evidence in support of claims... people with an interest and often a background in science, where objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence is king). That's my take, anyway.

 

It's not about calling people idiots. The subject of the nonsense label is the belief itself, not the person holding it. Despite that, there is no level of tact which will allow you to avoid the bad feelings which accompany discussions of this nature, as all of these discussions will ultimately become offensive to someone somewhere since all they have is their faith and that faith is being challenged.

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Your attempts to reside in this middle area are only going to fail, and they are going to fail hard (mostly because this site is populated with a membership who are reasonable, rational, and who require evidence in support of claims... people with an interest and often a background in science, where objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence is king). That's my take, anyway.

And people can still ask for that evidence without making it into an attack.

 

There is on level of tact which will allow you to avoid the bad feelings which accompany discussions of this nature, as all of these discussions will ultimately become offensive to someone somewhere since all they have is their faith and that faith is being challenged.

The rule isn't "don't offend people". That would be an impossible requirement.

 

Look, iNow, we are well aware of your stance on religious claims. But we don't base our rules on your opinions. If you can't or won't adhere to the rules, then stay out of the religion forum. There is plenty more internet about the place where you can discharge your opinions.

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I can see not calling a religious person an idiot or moron, but not being able to say that religion is nonsense is border line. Religion is nonsensical, most of the religious take any concessions to their point of view as weakness to be exploited. Technically religion is nonsense, just like some one who is not knowledgeable about something is technically ignorant.

 

To say someone is ignorant is not insulting, to say they are stupid is how ever insulting. Ignorance can be cured, stupidity implies something that cannot be changed due to a real defect in the person or that the person refuses to learn. If the rules say I cannot say religion is nonsense i hope the religious will be held to the same standard at the very least.

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So far, none of the threads in the religion forum boil down to existence. Sure, you could reduce them to "but God doesn't exist!" if you wanted to, but that's not their point.

 

Criticism of beliefs is not offensive. I can say "ah, but that doesn't take into account fact x," and I'd be perfectly tactful. But if I say "you're not taking into account fact x, so clearly you're hiding evidence to cover up for your shameful ignorance," I'm being offensive. And I'm making even less of a contribution to the discussion than the alternative.

 

You can talk about religion even if you don't believe it's true.

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If the rules say I cannot say religion is nonsense i hope the religious will be held to the same standard at the very least.

 

The rules don't say you cannot call religion nonsense. If someone says something that makes no sense to you, whether or not it relates to a religious topic, then by definition what they said will be 'non-sense' to you. Feel free to express that diplomatically.

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Basically, people are just going to have to be careful in how they say things then. I would also like to agree with moontanman in that people favouring relegion are also held to the same standards

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"To say someone is ignorant is not insulting, to say they are stupid is how ever insulting. Ignorance can be cured, stupidity implies something that cannot be changed due to a real defect in the person or that the person refuses to learn."

From my point of view, as a staunch atheist, the believers refuse to learn that there is no God. Am I allowed to describe that as stupid?

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I thought bascule phrased his stance in a beautifully tactful way in Which Religion is Right?:

 

Science provides me with enough answers that I don't feel I need to turn to religion for additional explanatory power. The things science regards as unknowable are the kinds of things for which I don't believe religion offers satisfactory explanations either.
He doesn't have to deride anyone to get his point across. He doesn't even have to put religion down to let you know why he prefers science.

 

And based on our past P&R forum, we gave more infractions for religious people not being tactful than the other way around, so we'll definitely be watching for this. To be fair, they were usually in the minority position, but that's no reason to retaliate with discourtesy.

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Let's not lose the context of this discussion, people.

Here's what I said that prompted the ridiculousness contained in this thread which has been split off:

 

 

I don't believe in God for exactly the same reasons I don't believe there are fairies at the bottom of my garden.

 

What I never could understand was why anyone else thinks differently.

 

This is pretty much my take. I don't believe in god for the same reason I don't believe in the tooth fairy. Seriously... how do people still buy into this nonsense?

 

 

Whoa... I should be ashamed of myself, shouldn't I? How dare I go to such a dark and offensive place. :rolleyes:

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Whoa... I should be ashamed of myself, shouldn't I? How dare I go to such a dark and offensive place. :rolleyes:

I wouldn't have a problem seeing that post in the religion forum.

You state your stance on the issue and describe it as nonsense, because it does not make sense to you.

 

Had you added "....the stupid ****s." on the end of it, then we might have a problem.

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Its going to be very difficult to argue a point and not get personal where relegion is involved though. So many people really do hold their beliefs to extreme levels and anyone arguing against it will seem to be personally attacking them.

 

I do believe we addressed this in the new set of rules for these sections of the forum, in the form of "don't insult anyone" and "if someone seems to be insulting you don't treat it as an insult".

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/forum/announcement.php?f=164&a=16


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In much the same way, nobody would take issue if we were arguing with a birther about Obama being born in the US/Hawaii and if we called their arguments that he was not, in fact, born in the US "nonsense," or if somebody claimed that failure to bail out the banking industry last year would not have resulted in complete economic collapse and we called that "nonsense," but suddenly when religious belief is involved that word is off-limits?

 

Indeed, if your entire argument is based on the presumption that your baseless assumptions or opinions are better than the other guy's baseless assumptions or opinions, no one can objectively call one set nonsense. Thus, the other side (or neutral observers) will see it as a baseless insult, rather than as an accurate label.

 

Now, you can claim that your assumptions and opinions are self-consistent (for example, with your use of Occam's Razor to minimize your assumptions), but then so can many religious people (for example the assumption that their god exists and does X, Y, and Z). Since not everyone accepts the same interpretation of the Bible, you also will not be able to point out contradictions there as evidence unless it contradicts something they have expressed as their opinion or assumptions. Really it gets very complicated very quickly. So we pretty much consider it all subjective.

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Whoa... I should be ashamed of myself, shouldn't I? How dare I go to such a dark and offensive place. :rolleyes:

 

You also added:

Why that lack of belief requires a special word also baffles me a bit. I don't have a label for not believing in Vishnu, nor do I have a label for finding astrology to be bullshit, so why should I need a label for not believing in this particular brand of woo? (basically, just as tomgwyther was saying above).

 

We're just trying to preempt trouble by posting in threads. That's all.

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You can talk about religion even if you don't believe it's true.

 

Indeed; this is the main point of philosophy and logic. You start from premises, and from them you reach conclusions. You can do this just fine if you don't really believe the premises. The point however is that you have to state your premises that you are working from, and everyone should agree at the end, if you have sound logic, that anyone who accepts said premises must accept the conclusions.


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From my point of view, as a staunch atheist, the believers refuse to learn that there is no God. Am I allowed to describe that as stupid?

 

Perhaps, but then by the same argument, the atheists are refusing to learn that there is a god, so then the religious people are going to call them stupid. Then we have a nice mudslinging match and name-calling rather than thoughtful discussion. I think we all prefer thoughtful discussion, and its also much likelier to convert people than insulting them.

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So far, none of the threads in the religion forum boil down to existence. Sure, you could reduce them to "but God doesn't exist!" if you wanted to, but that's not their point.

 

Criticism of beliefs is not offensive. I can say "ah, but that doesn't take into account fact x," and I'd be perfectly tactful. But if I say "you're not taking into account fact x, so clearly you're hiding evidence to cover up for your shameful ignorance," I'm being offensive. And I'm making even less of a contribution to the discussion than the alternative.

 

You can talk about religion even if you don't believe it's true.

 

Exactly...not every conversation needs to be of an adverserial or combative nature. Sometimes people want to mutually explore ideas without fear of judgement...LET, not MAKE, the person come to their own conclusions from what we OFFER them

 

Let Philosophy and Religion be that place.

 

The. fact is BILLIONS of people ARE religious and it doesn't help the cause of science by being fundamentalist in attitude ourselves....a corrosive and critical attack style only puts them on the defensive ..then they are lost to science.

 

I'm not religious but I have no problem with the way the Mods want it to be run.

 

The full rigor of the Scientific Method can be maintained in the proper science forums without being compromised by the presence of P&R.

 

Quite often, scientific discussions veer naturally into metaphysical or philosophical territory and I think people should have the 'sandbox' of P&R where they can test there ideas and beliefs with each other cordially and see where it leads...without necessarily trying to PROVE anything, but still coming to an agreeable conclusion, or without leaving the person who's sharing and testing a metaphysical or philosophical idea feeling negative about the experience when their idea doesn't work out logically under the spotlight of mutual discussion.

 

With the Science Forums we have the place for evidence-based dialogue and in P&R we now have a place to explore the whys and foundations of personal or societal beliefs without necessarily measuring against a rigid scientific 'yardstick' or methodology if it's not appropriate.

 

If one can't make the necessary attitude adjustment in the P&R forum, don't go there...it shouldn't be seen as a gladiatorial arena like the rest SFN if that's not the the spirit or intention of the OP in a particular thread there....simple.

 

When in Rome do as the Romans do.

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Do we need to be just as nice to astrology as we do to religion? Can I say astrology is bullshit or that anyone who believes in astrology is not playing with a full deck? Astrology is no better than religion nor is it any worse.

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