Author Topic: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.  (Read 7621 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Hermes

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 9988
  • Darwins +2/-0
  • 1600 years of oppression ends; Zeus is worshiped.
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #87 on: September 02, 2009, 05:40:33 PM »
What new knowledge have religious professionals brought to the world in the last 50 100 years?

I assume you don't mean coincidentally?  The Big-bang theory was first put forward by a priest with scientific interests, I gather.

And that's the crux of my point:  How can you quantify it?

Already handled in sufficient detail.  Did you look at the thread?  Looking at the examples you provided, I will have to say no.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 9988
  • Darwins +2/-0
  • 1600 years of oppression ends; Zeus is worshiped.
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #88 on: September 02, 2009, 05:51:59 PM »
For reference, below is the first post from the thread ...

Theology: Innovative, Knowledgeable, or Dead?
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=2750

For more details, consult that thread before raising questions that are already answered there.  The scope of that thread is intentionally limited, allowing the results to be relevant to the topic being discussed.



Every year, in almost any discipline, there is an expectation of new knowledge and progress.  Change is expected and encouraged.

In business there are think tanks and professional groups that develop new methods of managing projects and people.  Accountants work on new methods of improving their fields.  Even plumbers have innovations in tools and practices that change that field every year.

All of this work -- and the work of countless other disciplined professionals from white and blue collar disciplines -- are expected from those who work in those fields as well as those who benefit from the work of those fields.  As time marches on, the consensus of what is the best way to do things changes ... but it is a consensus.

Yet, I see no innovations from the theologians or other religious professionals.  No new knowledge.  No new practices.  The only consensus is based on dogmas of a specific sect -- dogmas that don't span from a Baptist to a Buddhist, a Hindu living deity to an Imam.

Maybe I'm mistaken. 

So, here's the question to anyone out there, especially the theists;

What new knowledge
have religious professionals
brought to the world
in the last 50 100 years?

So, what do you say?

Is there any innovation ... any knowledge ... being found or created by religious scholars that leads to a consensus among all or even most religious scholars?
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Ace42

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
  • Darwins +0/-0
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #89 on: September 02, 2009, 06:12:17 PM »
Religion was/is simply an expression of human need to structure our world

Theology and religion are two (related, admittedly) but distinct things.  You might as well say sociology is unimportant because it includes idiots in its sphere of inquiry.

I for one don't think that philosophy or theology are worthless or obsolete schools of inquiry, even if they have stagnated in comparison to technological development at the present.

Hermes:  Checking your thread now.  It's a little more than I wanted to get into, but I'm not seeing the metrics you are using to measure the contribution of theology.  Can you link me to a specific post where you show you've taken into account the influence of theology when it is indirect?

Quote
Yet, no theists have stepped forward with positive support for new knowledge.

One example of new research in the field would be contemporary theologists who are pouring over ancient religious manuscripts and analysing them in the context of archaeological finds, ancient social trends, etc.  In that respect there is a significant crossover with archaeology.  For example, theological inquiry into the Codex Gigas gives us information about the interaction with religion with the changing times and locations it was situated in.  An understanding of theology is vital to interpreting the dead sea scrolls, and thus any archaelogical / sociological information we deduce from them is only possible once we have stripped away areas of religious ignorance (ignorance of contemporary religious traditions and phenomenon) to get to what's left.

Quote
Institutional standards and growth in knowledge
Theologists use the same tools for inquiry as archaeologists, literary scholars, philosophers, psychologists, etc.  Their field isn't particularly well publicised, because whether the colour blue was holy for mayans or whether it was green is only significant to archaeologists looking for blue / green artifacts in mayan territory, for example, but it is still being worked on.  Likewise, advancements in understanding the theology in the Septuagint could likewise lead to a better understanding of Greek transliteration of alien concepts into other greek manuscripts.

Quote
Not really new knowledge or practices, are they?
You could say that about Archaeology...
Cette ville n'est pas assez grande pour les tous les deux nous ; et elle n'est pas moi qui partira.

Offline Hermes

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 9988
  • Darwins +2/-0
  • 1600 years of oppression ends; Zeus is worshiped.
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #90 on: September 02, 2009, 06:34:52 PM »
I for one don't think that philosophy or theology are worthless or obsolete schools of inquiry, even if they have stagnated in comparison to technological development at the present.

I've mentioned enough about philosophy.  As for theology, at best it is a rear guard action.

Hermes:  Checking your thread now.  It's a little more than I wanted to get into, but I'm not seeing the metrics you are using to measure the contribution of theology.  Can you link me to a specific post where you show you've taken into account the influence of theology when it is indirect?

Do you want to offer any metrics?  I didn't ask, but you can provide them if you wish.

I was asking for examples.  None came.  So, if you want a metric, you can make your own based on that.

But, please, read the thread or you won't know precisely what I'm talking about and how it applies to the more general topic you are bringing up.  Feel free to revive the thread with comments or criticism -- though make sure those are based on what is actually there before pressing the Post button.  It will save everyone some time.

Case in point ...

Quote
Yet, no theists have stepped forward with positive support for new knowledge.

One example of new research in the field would be contemporary theologists who are pouring over ancient religious manuscripts and analysing them in the context of archaeological finds, ancient social trends, etc.  In that respect there is a significant crossover with archaeology.  For example, theological inquiry into the Codex Gigas gives us information about the interaction with religion with the changing times and locations it was situated in.  An understanding of theology is vital to interpreting the dead sea scrolls, and thus any archaelogical / sociological information we deduce from them is only possible once we have stripped away areas of religious ignorance (ignorance of contemporary religious traditions and phenomenon) to get to what's left.

--

Quote
Institutional standards and growth in knowledge
Theologists use the same tools for inquiry as archaeologists, literary scholars, philosophers, psychologists, etc.  Their field isn't particularly well publicised, because whether the colour blue was holy for mayans or whether it was green is only significant to archaeologists looking for blue / green artifacts in mayan territory, for example, but it is still being worked on.  Likewise, advancements in understanding the theology in the Septuagint could likewise lead to a better understanding of Greek transliteration of alien concepts into other greek manuscripts.

Quote
Not really new knowledge or practices, are they?
You could say that about Archaeology...

Check the thread.  I understand your point, and it is valid, but it is not what I'm talking about.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Ace42

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
  • Darwins +0/-0
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #91 on: September 02, 2009, 07:00:17 PM »
Check the thread.  I understand your point, and it is valid, but it is not what I'm talking about.

Then I probably broadly concur with you.  TBH I found that thread a bit dull, and as it seems we are disagreeing about totally different things, it doesn't seem worth contesting.
Cette ville n'est pas assez grande pour les tous les deux nous ; et elle n'est pas moi qui partira.

Offline Hermes

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 9988
  • Darwins +2/-0
  • 1600 years of oppression ends; Zeus is worshiped.
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #92 on: September 02, 2009, 08:34:12 PM »
Check the thread.  I understand your point, and it is valid, but it is not what I'm talking about.

Then I probably broadly concur with you.  TBH I found that thread a bit dull, and as it seems we are disagreeing about totally different things, it doesn't seem worth contesting.

To each their own.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6653
  • Darwins +477/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #93 on: September 03, 2009, 04:53:27 AM »
As regards this "god" concept, it is one where the evidence is sparse, mainly undocumented, inconsistent, and which contradicts huge chunks of reality for which we have multiple documented consistent evidence.

Rubbish:  Conceive of a "god" who existed before the big-bang, flicked it with his fingernail, and sat back and watched the universe unfold; how is that distinguishable from a big-bang that "just happened"?

In no way distinguishable.  And so I can discount it as both failing Occam's razor, and also as irrelevant since things work the same either way.  Disinterested Deism is in all practical terms indistinguishable from atheism - it is only when that disinterested deity is ascribed whims and preferences and allegedly intervenes in the universe that it becomes relevant.

When you add in to the mix the fact that there are so many religions that hold similar beliefs that contradict the massively documented "reality", and yet which differ enormously as to what the "god" actually is, and it swiftly becomes apparent that to choose any one of those "gods" would be even more of an irrational decision.

The royal academy scoffed at On the Origin of Species, stating that it flatly contradicted what we could see in the world around us, citing dinosaurs with long-necks as evidence that they "struggled to get their heads above the water during the great flood!" and other such rubbish.  Are we going to throw out all of science because some of its proponents have been misguided or flat-out wrong?  No.

You misunderstand - there are (allegedly) a plethora of gods, and no evidence that promotes one over any other as being "more likely".  It is therefore irrational to choose any one of them on the basis of evidence, while it MAY be rational to choose one on the basis of "least downside if wrong": on that basis I would choose Islam, were I to choose any.

I have seen NO evidence that points, undeniably, to any one particular god of the tens of thousands that are purported to exist.  For that reason, it is irrational to choose any one of those tens of thousands.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Ace42

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
  • Darwins +0/-0
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #94 on: September 03, 2009, 10:10:54 PM »
In no way distinguishable.  And so I can discount it as both failing Occam's razor,

You can discount it as a "less preferable" hypothesis.  You cannot discount it as being potentially correct.

Quote
and also as irrelevant since things work the same either way.

So?  Since when does that make it "wrong" or "a mistake"?  This conclusion merely makes you ignostic; it is not necessarily a pro or con in regards to atheism.

Quote
Disinterested Deism is in all practical terms indistinguishable from atheism

As I pointed out in my example.  However, in non-practical terms, for example the tub-thumping, brow-beating, and ridiculing that goes on here; there is a world of difference with no rationale behind it other than a rather loose interpretation of Occam.

Quote
it is only when that disinterested deity is ascribed whims and preferences and allegedly intervenes in the universe that it becomes relevant.

And here's the problem:  As a "disinterested deity" is indistinguishable from "the natural order of things" as you, or any other atheist, sees it:  How precisely would you identify any whims, preferences, or interventions it made?  If it was actually a very interested deity's whim that the universe unfold in such a way that the area of a circle is the same as pi*R^2, it would still be indistinguishable from "the natural order of things" even though the deity is demonstrating a preference.

"It is only when a monotheistic creator-deity intentionally overrides the natural order, processes, and chronology that specific deity has set out that it becomes relevant" - relevant to what?  Life in general?  Maybe.  To arguments of theology?  By definition, certainly not.

You misunderstand - there are (allegedly) a plethora of gods, and no evidence that promotes one over any other as being "more likely".

What criteria are you using to make that claim?
Hypothesise two religions:
Religion A has the tenets that the god never lies, and the god has said that if you say the number "8" you'll instantly get pulled to hell by tentacles in a very real and physical way.
Religion B has the tenets that the god never lies, and the god has said that if you say the "number 8" the universe will pretty much continue on according to the laws of probability we all know and love.

Clearly in example A it can be pragmatically demonstrated that the religion is categorically false; the God as depicted, either literally or figuratively, cannot exist.  In example B; this is not the case.

Ergo, the two are not equal.

Logically there is an infinite number of criteria or methodologies you could use for comparative analysis of the different religions, and there is no reason to assume they'd all come up equal.

You could argue that something as simple as "number of believers" is a suitable criteria for judging which religion is the most accurate.  Most of the values our society holds is merely the matter of public consensus - the definition of the very words we use to interpret and consider these concepts is merely the matter of public consensus.  So there could be some practical justification in using that as a metric at the very least.

Do I think this is the case?  No.  But that doesn't mean I consider the flying spaghetti monster to be of "equal probability" to any other conception of god; that strikes me as a quite narrow minded way of considering the problem.

Quote
It is therefore irrational to choose any one of them on the basis of evidence

By that argument, if presented with two strangers, and one told me "your car just disappeared into thin air"; and the other told me "I saw someone get in it and drive it away" it would be irrational to choose between to two, as, in lieu of a crime scenes investigation portfolio or video surveillance footage, I am unable to determine the truth or fiction between either's claim.  Even if it turns out that the car was towed and thus neither was correct; that doesn't mean that the latter's claim was equally plausible to the former's.

Quote
I have seen NO evidence that points, undeniably, to any one particular god of the tens of thousands that are purported to exist.  For that reason, it is irrational to choose any one of those tens of thousands.

I have seen no evidence that points "undeniably" to anything whatsoever; so it all comes down to boundaries and thresholds of credulity.  While you may contend that no deity or religion is sufficient to meet the burden of proof you have set yourself; it certainly doesn't mean that they are all even or that you cannot consider some to be more plausible than others.

But this is coming into the skepticism I described in the "What evidence would be sufficient to prove god's existence" thread in the general discussions forum.
Cette ville n'est pas assez grande pour les tous les deux nous ; et elle n'est pas moi qui partira.

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6653
  • Darwins +477/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #95 on: September 04, 2009, 04:38:02 AM »
You misunderstand - there are (allegedly) a plethora of gods, and no evidence that promotes one over any other as being "more likely".

What criteria are you using to make that claim?
Hypothesise two religions:
Religion A has the tenets that the god never lies, and the god has said that if you say the number "8" you'll instantly get pulled to hell by tentacles in a very real and physical way.
Religion B has the tenets that the god never lies, and the god has said that if you say the "number 8" the universe will pretty much continue on according to the laws of probability we all know and love.

Clearly in example A it can be pragmatically demonstrated that the religion is categorically false; the God as depicted, either literally or figuratively, cannot exist.  In example B; this is not the case.

Ergo, the two are not equal.

Well, shall we begin with your religion?  What claims are there about the god of your religion that can be pragmatically demonstrated?


It is therefore irrational to choose any one of them on the basis of evidence

By that argument, if presented with two strangers, and one told me "your car just disappeared into thin air"; and the other told me "I saw someone get in it and drive it away" it would be irrational to choose between (the) two...

Or, it would be, if you divorce that line from the one immediately before it in my post - "...no evidence that promotes one over any other as being "more likely"..."  With the two strangers you posit, there is a wealth of precedent for the latter argument, and very very little for the former.  It is therefore quite rational to accept the statement of the latter stranger, pending further information.

And so I return to my question above - what claims are there about the god of your religion that can be pragmatically demonstrated?  If there are none, then how can it be said to be rational to accept that god as having any more existence than the FSM? 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline stugol

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Darwins +0/-0
Re: An even better question.. cause yours sucks.
« Reply #96 on: September 27, 2009, 08:02:33 AM »
Hypothesise two religions:
Religion A has the tenets that the god never lies, and the god has said that if you say the number "8" you'll instantly get pulled to hell by tentacles in a very real and physical way.
Religion B has the tenets that the god never lies, and the god has said that if you say the "number 8" the universe will pretty much continue on according to the laws of probability we all know and love.

Clearly in example A it can be pragmatically demonstrated that the religion is categorically false; the God as depicted, either literally or figuratively, cannot exist.  In example B; this is not the case.

Ergo, the two are not equal.

You are in error.

Your example is not representative of the subject under debate. "Religion B", in your example, is obviously intended to represent the Christian faith. Your argument, specifically, is that some other religions can be proven to be false by showing some parts of the doctrine to be incorrect; whereas YOUR religion cannot be proven false in this way.

This, of course, is rubbish. Christianity resembles Religion A in your example, not Religion B. Many Biblical claims have been DEMONSTRATED - either logically or empirically - to be false. The book of this website clearly shows vast areas of the Bible to be nonsensical, contradictory or just plain FALSE. Indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find ANY religion that did not contain obvious fallacies in its doctrine. And if the doctrine is wrong, the belief is wrong.

The ONLY defense you can make at this point is the oft-used, "my God can exist even if the Bible is false" argument. Well, so can the FSM, or Zeus, or leprechauns, or Santa Claus, or anything else! What it basically boils down to is this:

  • There is no way to prove that my god DOESN'T exist.
  • Therefore he might exist.
  • Therefore you can't say he doesn't.

True, but I can say it's just as friggin' unlikely as the Tooth Fairy, and there's nothing you can say to refute it.