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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 35612 times)

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #200 on: July 24, 2012, 08:39:48 PM »
How is the bad judgment caused by religion more dangerous than the bad judgment caused by anything else?

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #201 on: July 24, 2012, 09:03:26 PM »
How is the bad judgment caused by religion more dangerous than the bad judgment caused by anything else?

We don't take drunk people seriously when deciding laws and national policy. We do take religious people seriously.

In all other cases of bad judgement, we readily dismiss people's bad judgement during the discussion. Religious bad judgement has special privilege, is not afraid of using that privilege to horrible effect. We don't base medical decisions on what Uncle Biff thinks the pains in his colon are, but we do have serious debates about preventing people from having access to necessary medical procedures because of other peoples's religious beliefs.

We don't seriously discuss banning stem cell research because people think stem cells are icky. But we do have to watch people needlessly suffer and die because cures that might have been available have been stymied by people who think God put 'souls' in stem cells.

When parents let their kids die of blood loss, even though medical doctors said the kid needed a transfusion, because the parents thought "aw, it'll heal up in a minute," we don't let them get away with it. We do however, let parents deny their kids necessary and medically recommended treatments because their interpretation of a two thousand year-old book says to. (Although, luckily, that is starting to change in civilized countries.)

Religious-based bad judgement - faith-based bad judgement - is the only type of bad judgement that gets taken seriously, often with disastrous effect.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #202 on: July 24, 2012, 11:40:44 PM »
It probably comes down to the fact that those people in Africa are going to believe the leader of the religion that they believe in, since people do tend to follow the authority of a group they belong too. We also both know that abstinence does not work because people are going to have sex, that and it requires people to truly understand that the sex, the unprotected sexual contact is what's causing it. Instead, they have people who want to truly help them telling them that condoms and other such things will help, while their religious leader is telling them it helps to spread the disease.

So no, I do not say the Pope is solely the cause of Africa's ills, I sure as hell will give him NO credit for helping it, but I will happily give him and the church he represents credit for helping it in it's worsening condition.

Offline Ghostly Bagel

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #203 on: July 25, 2012, 12:43:13 AM »
While I was trying to put some perspective into the topic a little, it seemed some people took some of things I said in different ways than what I meant. I apologize if some of it wasn't as clear as it could have been but I was kind of rushed today. I'd be willing to continue a discussion with anyone via messaging but I think I'm done with this thread as far as making a public statement. There are simply too many posts to reply to and I know I won't have the energy to maintain all of the separate discussions.

I'm not a debater but more or less as someone who prefers discussion who can give and take away from the conversation. Learning and teaching is my goal, not arguing. Sorry if I offended anyone with my views.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 12:50:43 AM by Ghostly Bagel »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #204 on: July 25, 2012, 01:43:03 AM »
People refuse procedures all the time for personal beliefs that are not religious.  People do not comply with medical treatment all the time for reasons that are not based in faith.  Non-compliance is one of the top reasons why patients return to the hospital.  Non-compliance is one of the reasons why antibiotic resistant infections exist in the numbers they do.  Main way to prevent non-compliance is through education and reminders, not religious conversion.

A child starved to death in his mother’s arms because the mother wanted the child to eat a vegan diet.  The baby would have lived if his mother would have pulled down her top for a few minutes and fed him.  As for life saving procedures for children, the parents actually don’t have as much of a say as you would think in the United States at least.  A physician has the ability to override a parent’s wishes and in the case of emergency healthcare consent is implied by requesting help.  Signs of abuse, neglect or withholding medical treatment are automatically reported to child welfare and a social worker is required at every hospital to investigate such cases.  Religious reasons are not acceptable excuses.  Schools require vaccinations; regular checks up from licensed medical personnel and are also required to report suspicious activity.

People don’t listen to alcoholics?  Alcohol is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Laws were being fought over vehemently all over the United States because people wanted to be able to drink before getting behind the wheel of a car.  This despite evidence that they could kill people.  The insurance industry had to step in and lobby for the laws.

The Bell Curve is a book that breaks down and utilizes statistical information on IQ testing.  That book states that white people are smarter than black people; men smarter than women, children from affluent homes are smarter than impoverished ones.  This book has been used by education boards to justify removing funds from “students with low IQs” to ones with higher IQs because they can make use of the funds. 

Faith is certainly not innocent of stupidity and stupid reasons.  By far though, religion and faith are not the only villains in the room.

So the Pope preaches to not have sex outside of marriage, which would prevent a lot of cases of HIV.  The Pope also preaches not to commit adultery, which also would prevent a lot of cases of HIV.  Many of the clinics and world health organizations are funded, in part, by religious groups and missionary groups.  Yet religion is going to be tagged for not helping and making the situation worse?

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #205 on: July 25, 2012, 06:05:23 AM »
Pumpkin, are you reading what Saria has so lucidly written? Your replies suggest otherwise. She is not claiming blind faith to be responsible for all of the folly in the world, just a good deal of it. I don't know how she could have been more clear.

You are, of course, correct that the faithful sometimes do good works. As do the faithless. The lesson to be drawn here, I think, is that the impulse to do good has little to do with religious belief.

And, whatever the public health value of the Pope's exhortations in favor of abstinence and against adultery, his insistence, that those whose sexual conduct will put put them at risk of contracting and spreading HIV (perhaps to a spouse) must noneheless refrain from using condoms, is a near perfect, real world example of the sort of pernicious, disordered thinking exhibited by Saria's faithful pilot. 
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 06:22:17 AM by vtboy »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #206 on: July 25, 2012, 07:24:15 AM »
I understand what Saria is posting, but she is failing to exhibit how faith based poor judgment is worse than any other poor judgment.  Simply because someone doesn’t like “faith” is not reason to say that faith needs to be taken off the table when faith is no more dangerous or misleading than any other type of bad judgment.  That is where the contention, so far as I can tell, is coming from in our line of discussion.  We are looking at a batch of oranges and she is saying, in my eyes, that this company needs theirs thrown out when their oranges are just like the rest.

As for the Pope not supporting condoms, that is certainly not the high point of the Catholic Church.  Still, to say the Pope is responsible for the worsening of the HIV situation in Africa is a bold claim.  Other countries, with Catholic influence in their culture, have had outbreaks that were controlled by their governments.  Brazil is one country that comes to mind.  If the word of the Pope was treated with such reverence by the people of Africa that they would endanger themselves without condom use, then they would also practice abstinence and stop committing adultery.  This alone points toward a weak influence of the Pope’s decrees. 

According to the Washington Times, 48% of Africa is considered Christian.  Among that 48% are not only Catholics, who listen to the Pope, but also Protestants.  Considering many of the beliefs regarding the resurrection of Christ and the benefits of faith listed, I would contend many are of the Protestant faith.  Protestants do not listen to the Pope.

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #207 on: July 25, 2012, 09:14:07 AM »
I understand what Saria is posting, but she is failing to exhibit how faith based poor judgment is worse than any other poor judgment.  Simply because someone doesn’t like “faith” is not reason to say that faith needs to be taken off the table when faith is no more dangerous or misleading than any other type of bad judgment.  That is where the contention, so far as I can tell, is coming from in our line of discussion.  We are looking at a batch of oranges and she is saying, in my eyes, that this company needs theirs thrown out when their oranges are just like the rest.

So, in your view, condemnation of all other sources of bad judgment is the ante for condemning faith as a cause of bad judgment. Perhaps, if the topic of this thread were something like, "Errant Judgment and its Antecedents," you might have a point. But, it's not.

Moreover, faith based judgment -- "magical thinking" -- is especially troubling in its resistance to cure. For example, assuming the conclusions of The Bell Curve which trouble you are the products of flawed science, you might succeed in so convincing its author by identifying errors in his data (i.e., perception) or in his deductions from the data (i.e., reasoning). If the conclusions, on the other hand, are the products of faith, appeal to facts and reason will never persuade the author of his error unless and until he abandons that faith. For this reason, faith represents a special class of disordered thinking, if it can be called "thinking" at all, since it is entirely impervious to any sort of salutary influence. (To be clear, I am not suggesting that faith is the only cause of poor judgment. Ego and intellectual limitation, among other things, also play their part. But, when people at least agree that facts and reason, and not faith, should determine action, there is at least the hope of correction.) 

Quote
As for the Pope not supporting condoms, that is certainly not the high point of the Catholic Church.  Still, to say the Pope is responsible for the worsening of the HIV situation in Africa is a bold claim.  Other countries, with Catholic influence in their culture, have had outbreaks that were controlled by their governments.  Brazil is one country that comes to mind.  If the word of the Pope was treated with such reverence by the people of Africa that they would endanger themselves without condom use, then they would also practice abstinence and stop committing adultery.  This alone points toward a weak influence of the Pope’s decrees. 

Once again, I do not recall anyone arguing the Pope was the sole cause, or even a major cause, of the worsening HIV problem in Afirca.

I don't know to what extent the Pope's preachings against condoms have made the African HIV epidemic worse, but they certainly constitute wrong-headed, faith-based advice which cannot have made the situation better. Moreover, since condoms are an effective means of controlling the spread of the disease, the Pope, if he gives a damn about human suffering, should be advocating their use by those who won't heed his advice on abstinence and adultery. Evidently, the Pope's faith has led him to the conclusion that giving free reign to sperm is a greater good than the prevention of a pestilence which afflicts not only the promiscuous, but children who acquired it in utero and those infected by unfaithful spouses.   

Quote
According to the Washington Times, 48% of Africa is considered Christian.  Among that 48% are not only Catholics, who listen to the Pope, but also Protestants.  Considering many of the beliefs regarding the resurrection of Christ and the benefits of faith listed, I would contend many are of the Protestant faith.  Protestants do not listen to the Pope.

Correct. Protestants do not listen to the Pope. They have their own knuckleheads -- like Jerry Falwell who famously taught that AIDS was god's just punishment of homosexuals, and that the carnage of 9/11 was divine retribution for America's tolerance of homosexuality. I doubt he advocated use of condoms by homosexuals or, for that matter, by heterosexuals engaged in extramarital sex, as a means of avoiding god's just penalties.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 02:29:28 PM by vtboy »

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #208 on: July 25, 2012, 04:52:12 PM »
I feel as if you aren't paying attention to a word that either of us have said Pumpkin. I even went out of my way to specify that I do not blame the Pope as the sole cause for Africa's ills. I will also state here explicitly though I thought it was implicitly stated, he is not the major cause of it's decline either. What I said is that he has not helped at all, other than to promise an afterlife for those who obey the rules that he dictates, rules that in case you haven't noticed, very few people can diligently follow in their lives.

Plus, there is quite a list of particularly despicable things that the Catholic Church is responsible for, I merely used the condom incident in Africa as a prime example.

Faith based judgements are by the way, judgements that are not based off of critical thinking, reasoning or logic. They're based off of 'spiritual' teachings passed down from their elders and an old group reading from an old book that hardly applies to the modern world. Sure we've given up the belief that disease is demons and evil spirits, but that's because science spoke louder and forced the correct viewpoint by working. Still, religious thinking is tenacious and they latch onto something else, where you blindly follow the dictates of your particular holy text or religious leaders, rather than utilizing critical thinking about what is right and wrong.

Religious thinking is repetition and obedience, dogma rather than pragmatism and so yes, it does operate differently than other poor judgement. Because it is brought on by a system that encourages it.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #209 on: July 25, 2012, 10:10:32 PM »
People refuse procedures all the time for personal beliefs that are not religious.
I can't believe I have to repeat this again, but, here goes: Yes, but I'm not talking about those people.

A child starved to death in his mother’s arms because the mother wanted the child to eat a vegan diet.
Perhaps, but I'm not talking about that mother.

People don’t listen to alcoholics?
Seriously? You seriously can't tell the difference between "alcoholics" (what you said) and "drunk people" (what I said). Seriously?

The Bell Curve is a book that breaks down and utilizes statistical information on IQ testing.
Whatever. I'm not talking about the people that wrote that book.

By far though, religion and faith are not the only villains in the room.
I never claimed that they were. If anyone did, you did. (You might want to look up what a "straw man argument" is. It's when you take someone's sane position and distort it to something ridiculous, then argue that position. For example, when you take someone saying "religion/faith is A villain" and distort that to "religion/faith is THE ONLY villain".)

I understand what Saria is posting, but she is failing to exhibit how faith based poor judgment is worse than any other poor judgment.
And the surprising reason that I seem to be "failing" to do that is because that's not what I'm trying to do. Really, if you're going to keep making up my arguments, I should be getting royalties or something on them.

Simply because someone doesn’t like “faith” is not reason to say that faith needs to be taken off the table when faith is no more dangerous or misleading than any other type of bad judgment.  That is where the contention, so far as I can tell, is coming from in our line of discussion.  We are looking at a batch of oranges and she is saying, in my eyes, that this company needs theirs thrown out when their oranges are just like the rest.
Even when you try to describe what you think your point is, it's incoherent. Here's a more coherent description.

Me: Company X is bad because they are selling tainted oranges.
You: But company Y sells tainted oranges.
Me: Yes, but I'm not talking about company Y.
You: Lots of companies sell tainted oranges.
Me: Perhaps, but I'm not talking about those companies.
You: There are companies that sell more tainted oranges than company X.
Me: Maybe, but I'm not talking about those companies.
You: You just don't like company X, so that's why you're picking on it instead of company Y, Z, etc.
Me: How I 'feel' about company X is irrelevant to the fact of what it is: a company selling tainted oranges, which is bad.

To show you how absurd what you're saying is, let's put it in a different context.

Me: Smoking is unhealthy because it causes cancer.
You: Asbestos causes cancer, too.
Me: Yes, but I'm not talking about asbestos, I'm talking about smoking.
You: Lots of things cause cancer.
Me: Perhaps, but I'm not talking about those things, I'm talking about smoking.
You: There are things that cause cancer much more readily than smoking.
Me: Maybe, but I'm not talking about those things, I'm talking about smoking.
You: You just don't like smoking, so that's why you're picking on it instead of asbestos, and everything else that causes cancer.
Me: How I 'feel' about smoking is irrelevant to the facts: smoking causes cancer, therefore it is unhealthy.

And then to cap off the bizarre and incoherent argument you're making, you say "simply because someone doesn't like smoking that is not reason to say that smoking is unhealthy, because there are other things just as unhealthy." So... what? You think that we shouldn't try to get people to quit smoking just because other things are unhealthy too? You think that just because tap-dancing on an asbestos floor is probably going to cause cancer quicker than smoking that we should just... forget that smoking causes cancer, too? Seriously, what's your point? Just that you're pissed off that I fingered faith as something bad? What is your point, really: explain coherently what you think you're doing by countering "faith is bad because it causes bad judgement" with "alcohol also causes bad judgement". What exactly is your point by saying that?

I should point out that never once have you actually bothered to address the point I actually made: that faith is bad. Instead all you've tried to do is say "there are other bad things, so why are you picking on faith"? The answer to that question would be: because faith, and whether it's good or bad, is on topic in this thread; drunk driving and all that other crap isn't. That's why I'm not talking about those things, bad as they are; that's why I'm talking about faith.

If you want to spend your time listing everything in the world that is bad, you go nuts, I won't stop you. If you want to try and find things in the world that you think are worse than faith, again, have at it, and enjoy yourself. But do realize that you'll just be wasting your time, and everyone else's here, because none of that will do anything to make a coherent point against the claim that faith is bad and causes problems. No one has said - other than you - that there are no other causes of bad judgement in the world, or that faith is the "worst" cause of it... but the fact that there are other things that cause bad judgement doesn't mean we should excuse this cause of bad judgement, just like the fact that there are other things besides smoking that cause cancer doesn't mean we should excuse that cause of cancer, just like the fact that other companies sell tainted oranges doesn't mean we should excuse company X for doing it.

Honestly, if I ever get into legal trouble, I hope you're the judge presiding over my case. So when the prosecution says, "Saria murdered a baby", my defence could be, "other people have murdered babies, and some people have probably murdered far more babies than me... I'm not the only baby murderer in the world, and some of them have gotten off scot free", because apparently that's all it will take to get me off scot free, too.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #210 on: July 26, 2012, 01:34:21 AM »
So apparently then there is miscommunication of the point.  My intent on listing other sources of bad judgment was not to justify faith simply as another source of bad judgment but to point out that removal of faith as a variable in people’s decision making does not lead toward better decision making.  For instance the example of The Bell Curve was to illustrate that science is not above use in poor decision making.  The same with the child example, that faith is not necessarily the contributing variable to such decision as avoiding healthcare for children.  A running theme in my examples and I daresay in the others is ignorance and perhaps some human pride. 

The point stated is that faith is bad.  My argument is simply that the same results will be achieved with or without faith.  If the oranges from company X are bad along with those of company Y, then the problem does not lie with one company.  Removing Company X from the equation, faith, simply leaves us with bad oranges from company Y.  We are no better off.  To remove a variable from the equation there needs to be proof that this variable will actually lead to a different result.  Since Saria made use of postulated examples such as her pilot example, I intended to make use of actual people and events to counter.  The point apparently did not carry.

The proposed “smoking argument” may illustrate this point.  I can, through science and research, show that by reducing smoking in the human population that there is a direct correlation to a reduction in cancer.  Therefore, removing smoking as a variable or influence in a person’s life can show a direct reduction in their chance to have certain types of cancer.  That was actually the most important part of the research into smoking was the direct link and correlation between smoking and cancer.   Armed with that evidence when the statement is made that smoking should be stopped, I am using empirical evidence to support my claim.

 On the other hand, can you show that faith has a direct correlation on poor decision making?  I have not seen any research that a person lacking faith makes better day-to-day decisions than one who has faith where faith is the direct link.  So without that evidence, your argument is based on belief.  You believe faith is bad and leads to poor decision making.  You are removing oranges from Company X because you do not like Company X, not for any evidence of benefit to the crop of oranges that are to be sold to your customers.  Your customers will buy bad oranges, you are just happier because Company Y is supplying those bad oranges.

The examples given by you have failed to show faith as anything other than a decision making tool that can be used poorly, just like any other.  My examples have shown in specifics how poor decision making occurs without the need of faith.  In essence faith does not have a direct link or correlation to poor decision making.  The arguments against my examples have been weak at best.  In fact you also agree that poor decision making is made regardless of a person being faithful.  You have failed to show how faith directly leads to poor decisions and more importantly how removal of faith from the population will lead to an improved result or really any change in the result at all.

As for the argument regarding the Pope.  Braioch you state that the Pope is not to blame for the incident in Africa and also that you are not making a claim that the Pope has had a direct effect on the incident being worse.  You say that your statement is that the Pope has not helped, other than offering hope for an afterlife.  Then you go on to say in the next section that your example of condoms in Africa was just your prime example of despicable things the Catholic Church is responsible for.  Forgive me if that seems contradictory.  The Pope, leader of the Catholic Church, is not responsible for the condition of HIV in Africa but this is a prime example of despicable things the Catholic Church is responsible for.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #211 on: July 26, 2012, 03:36:37 AM »
So apparently then there is miscommunication of the point.  My intent on listing other sources of bad judgment was not to justify faith simply as another source of bad judgment but to point out that removal of faith as a variable in people’s decision making does not lead toward better decision making.
Oh no, no, no. :P You're not going to dump all the burden of proof on me like that, no way.

I spent a long and detailed post patiently explaining that faith is always bad in decision making. I clearly, and in detail, explained the reasons why it's bad, complete with examples - despite your rather dishonest claim that I haven't explained how faith causes bad decisions. (Hell, I even provided William Kingdon Clifford as a reference!!!) But instead of answering anything I wrote, you went and spent several posts trying to distort my claim into "faith is the only bad thing in decision making", and I wouldn't stand for it. Now you're trying to turn back around and pretend that what you really meant all along was that I hadn't made my case clearly enough? No, sorry, not going to stand for that, either.

If you think I didn't make a clear enough case explaining why faith is always bad in decision making, then you should go back to where I made that argument and actually answer it. And answer it properly, rather than trying to distort it or distract from it.

Now, as for the latest attempt at distraction, this:

... removal of faith as a variable in people’s decision making does not lead toward better decision making.
is a positive claim.

That means that the burden of proof is on YOU, not me: you.

Let me clarify what's going on here. I have claimed that faith causes... SOME ::)... bad decisions, and I spent a great deal of time making that case, and not only have you failed to show why my argument is wrong or provide a counterargument, it sure looks like you agree that faith causes... SOME ::)... bad decisions. So if some bad decisions are caused by faith, that means that if you remove faith as an influence, then you remove those bad decisions caused by faith, which means that the total number bad decisions should drop - even without touching any other sources of bad decisions. That's just simple math: if there are N bad decisions made every year, and n of those bad decisions are caused by faith, then if we eliminate faith as a source of bad decisions, we should be left with Nn bad decisions, and n > 0, then Nn < N... which means there will be less bad decisions, if we eliminate faith.

So given what I've already shown, plus a little basic reasoning, there's the conclusion: if we eliminate faith-based decision-making, there will be fewer bad decisions.

But now you want to come along and claim something different... you want to come along and claim that "removal of faith as a variable in people’s decision making does not lead toward better decision making". And you expect me to go out and find the evidence to the contrary? To hell with that. It's your claim, you prove it. You go out and dig through JSTOR and find the articles that you think prove your case. I'll review them when you find them and decide if they measure up, how does that sound?

Hey, because I'm such a nice person, I'll help you. You see, if there will still be the same number of bad decisions made even after you remove a source of bad decision-making, then that means one of two things:

  • The source in question actually causes 0 bad decisions. But we've already ruled that out.
  • The other sources will "pick up the slack" by somehow causing more bad decisions than they do already. This seems to be your claim, so this might be what you want to focus on proving, as you search for evidence.

So! Empirical evidence is that important to you? Well, then go out and find it. And when you bring it back, I get to decide whether it's "good enough".



What? You didn't really think I was going to run out and do all the work while you sat back and just talked about what you "feel" is true, did you? You didn't seriously think that after I spent all that time and effort making a strong case for my point, that you could just make a vague, unsourced, unevidenced claim to the contrary and have me go out and try to find all the sources and evidence, did you? Meanwhile you could just sit back and decide whether I'd done a good enough job? Not likely. :-)

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #212 on: July 26, 2012, 03:52:50 AM »
I think this might be a good time for you to step back Saria and take a break from the discussion.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #213 on: July 26, 2012, 04:19:42 AM »
As for the argument regarding the Pope.  Braioch you state that the Pope is not to blame for the incident in Africa and also that you are not making a claim that the Pope has had a direct effect on the incident being worse.  You say that your statement is that the Pope has not helped, other than offering hope for an afterlife.  Then you go on to say in the next section that your example of condoms in Africa was just your prime example of despicable things the Catholic Church is responsible for.  Forgive me if that seems contradictory.  The Pope, leader of the Catholic Church, is not responsible for the condition of HIV in Africa but this is a prime example of despicable things the Catholic Church is responsible for.

No, what I said about him not to blame for the decline in Africa was meant for the totality of it's decline. He is not responsible for its social, economic and health decline. Those are a myriad of different influences that all came to cause the current crisis. What I'm saying is that the man had an opportunity to help these people in this world, so that we don't have children being born with this disease and to slow the spread of the disease. Instead the man, knowing full well whom he represented and what this information would do, still stated a false statement that has further harmed the country and the health of its people.

Not responsible, but he sure as hell did nothing but harm the cause of attempting to help these people. Forgive me if I fail to care that it goes against his religious tenants or of his followers, but when it comes between saving potential lives and following some ancient doctrine, I'm having no pity for those who will sacrifice lives for those doctrines. Innocent and ignorant lives at that.

Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
I think this might be a good time for you to step back Saria and take a break from the discussion.

This isn't meant to be an aggressive discussion, and I know that these topics are hot button and can get you riled up Saria. I too would say that taking a moment, stepping back from the situation and keeping your passion in check would be good.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #214 on: July 26, 2012, 06:51:00 AM »
The examples given in regard to your argument have each been answered with facts and counter examples of poor judgment made without the use of faith.  Once more I have explained that my purpose in giving those examples was to show that faith is not the main variable and a direct correlation cannot be shown.  The evidence used to make your claim is an example, edited for your needs from a source not listed except for the author’s name.  Meaning the burden is then on me to find, in all this man’s writing, this one example that you have edited.  As you seem to be well educated and have probably written papers before, you should know that is not nearly enough to assist someone in finding the source material.  Paraphrasing someone, giving their name and then no other information is not something I have ever seen approved by an instructor.

Now the logic behind eliminating faith is sound.  Certainly if faith is directly responsible for a certain number of bad decisions and faith is removed, that number of bad decisions will be removed.  Problem with that train of thought is that first faith has not been shown to have a direct correlation to poor decision making.  Second is that the number of bad decisions, if faith is directly correlated to bad decisions, is unknown and relevant to the discussion.  If 50% of all bad decisions were made solely because faith was in the world, then removing faith would cause a significant change.  If 3% of all bad decisions could be directly linked to faith, then that is not a significant change. 

The claim that faith is bad and leads to poor decisions is your claim and so the burden of proof does rest on your shoulders.  To be fair, I will attempt to provide empirical evidence to the contrary.

Measuring faith in the decision making process is difficult.  People’s motivations for certain action is hard to determine except through personal interview.  I highly doubt people here would be satisfied with statements from people proclaiming that “God lead them to a certain place or decision in their life.”  That being said, I think many people would say that making good choices to avoid prison and re-entry into the prison system might qualify as good decision making skills.  A brief by the Department of Health and Human Services addressed the use of faith based programs in the prison system. 

https://peerta.acf.hhs.gov/pdf/prisoner_reentry.pdf

The first area of note is that in the article there is a statement regarding religious belief and delinquency, crime and recidivism.  The correlation is found to be inverse, meaning that religious belief shows a reduction in those three areas.  Confirmation is given by the article quoted that the literature base is consistent with these findings throughout.  “The aforementioned findings suggest that faith is the forgotten factor in reducing crime problems and religious program research may hold a valuable key to developing criminal justice system solutions.”

Second area of interest comes from a study done when the Inner Change Freedom Initiative was done, a faith based reform program.  There was a 50% reduction in rearrests among participates as compared to non-participants and a 60% reduction in incarceration.  Another study involving the Prison Fellowship program controlled for religiosity and involvement in the program.  Those more active in the program, meaning the ones most active in faith activities, showed a significant decline in their recidivism rate.

One can also look at good decision making as avoidance of risk.
  “Prior research suggests a link between individual religiosity and risk aversion. We find that this relationship also influences organizational behavior. Firms located in counties with higher levels of religiosity display lower degrees of risk exposure, as measured by variances in equity returns or returns on assets.” - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304405X0900083X

“Looking at ten risk behaviors, religiosity variables were
consistently associated with reduced risk behaviors in the areas of: smoking, alcohol use,
truancy, sexual activity, marijuana use, and depression. In the case of these six risk variables,
religiosity variables were significantly associated with reduced risk behaviors when controlling
for family background variables and self esteem.” - http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1056&context=spp_papers&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dreligiosity%2520risk%2520avoidance%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D2%26ved%3D0CFcQFjAB%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Frepository.upenn.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1056%2526context%253Dspp_papers%26ei%3DiCwRUNLuGoLo9ASKxYCYCQ%26usg%3DAFQjCNGGUzfqOtiRQIsk_9Q8_Ow6Q2qGig#search=%22religiosity%20risk%20avoidance%22

I hope these sources provide some reinforcement and explanation for my perspective and argument. 

Note: Braioch if you will excuse me, I have a few things to do.  I am not ignoring your post.

Offline Jebble212

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #215 on: July 26, 2012, 07:23:06 AM »
Hello, I am Jebble212 you may call me Jeb if you like. I have followed this thread a little and would like to get involved though I have no direct opinion on the recent subjects discussed as there not specific to my beliefs I was wondering what issue is your primary reason for not believing in a monotheistic god.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #216 on: July 26, 2012, 02:00:08 PM »
Well not only that Pumpkin, but we have trailed off considerably from the OP, I think it best that this become an entirely different topic to be honest. I won't be following as long term debates can be rather frustrating to me, especially when drawn out over time, not enough so to lose my cool, just become exasperated and lose interest is all. And no worries, I didn't feel ignored.

As for your question Jebble, it does vary depending on the person, especially since you specified a monotheistic god, which would include that question for any polytheists we may have roaming around. Mine personally is a sufficient lack of evidence, for there is no empirical evidence that god or the supernatural exists.

Offline Jebble212

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #217 on: July 26, 2012, 02:26:03 PM »
Thanks for your response  Braioch but I am curious what your thoughts on Pascal's Wager are?

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #218 on: July 26, 2012, 02:35:23 PM »
Measuring faith in the decision making process is difficult.  People’s motivations for certain action is hard to determine except through personal interview.  I highly doubt people here would be satisfied with statements from people proclaiming that “God lead them to a certain place or decision in their life.”  That being said, I think many people would say that making good choices to avoid prison and re-entry into the prison system might qualify as good decision making skills.  A brief by the Department of Health and Human Services addressed the use of faith based programs in the prison system. 

https://peerta.acf.hhs.gov/pdf/prisoner_reentry.pdf

The first area of note is that in the article there is a statement regarding religious belief and delinquency, crime and recidivism.  The correlation is found to be inverse, meaning that religious belief shows a reduction in those three areas.  Confirmation is given by the article quoted that the literature base is consistent with these findings throughout.  “The aforementioned findings suggest that faith is the forgotten factor in reducing crime problems and religious program research may hold a valuable key to developing criminal justice system solutions.”

Second area of interest comes from a study done when the Inner Change Freedom Initiative was done, a faith based reform program.  There was a 50% reduction in rearrests among participates as compared to non-participants and a 60% reduction in incarceration.  Another study involving the Prison Fellowship program controlled for religiosity and involvement in the program.  Those more active in the program, meaning the ones most active in faith activities, showed a significant decline in their recidivism rate.

One can also look at good decision making as avoidance of risk.
  “Prior research suggests a link between individual religiosity and risk aversion. We find that this relationship also influences organizational behavior. Firms located in counties with higher levels of religiosity display lower degrees of risk exposure, as measured by variances in equity returns or returns on assets.” - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304405X0900083X

“Looking at ten risk behaviors, religiosity variables were
consistently associated with reduced risk behaviors in the areas of: smoking, alcohol use,
truancy, sexual activity, marijuana use, and depression. In the case of these six risk variables,
religiosity variables were significantly associated with reduced risk behaviors when controlling
for family background variables and self esteem.” - http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1056&context=spp_papers&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dreligiosity%2520risk%2520avoidance%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D2%26ved%3D0CFcQFjAB%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Frepository.upenn.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1056%2526context%253Dspp_papers%26ei%3DiCwRUNLuGoLo9ASKxYCYCQ%26usg%3DAFQjCNGGUzfqOtiRQIsk_9Q8_Ow6Q2qGig#search=%22religiosity%20risk%20avoidance%22

Let's not confuse the personal discipline which, especially for troubled people, often accompanies acceptance into an ordered, normative community, for the supposedly beneficial effects of faith.

The University of Pennsylvania paper you cite, for example, makes no claims whatsoever about the effect of faith on the incidence of risky behavior among adolescents. Its concern, instead, is with the effects of "religiosity," defined behaviorally, if more prosaically, as "attendance [at religious services], affiliation with religious activities, or the perceived importance of religion."

Further, with respect to the observed inverse correlation between these religious behaviors and risky behaviors, the paper's authors offer the following possible theories, none of which touches upon belief: (1) the influence "of social bonding of the congregation and group norms set by congregational leaders, religious youth leaders and a peer group"; (2) the filling of a "youth's time ... with pro-social, usually supervised, activities with peers," minimizing the "time available to explore other risk behaviors"; (3) "that risk-averse youth seek religious settings while risk seekers avoid religious involvement"; and (4) that youth who value religion as important and are active with religious congregations have parents who supervise them more closely and encourage them to get involved with organized religion and thus contribute to their decreased risk activity." The last two of these, by the way, actually call into question the existence of any causal (as opposed to coincidental) connection between religious behavior and reduced incidence of risky behavior.

Did you read the U. Pa. paper?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #219 on: July 26, 2012, 05:14:17 PM »
 I did vtboy and quite honestly I am getting a little tired of the insinuation that I do not properly research and handle my posts.  As you notice I have posted three separate articles dealing with decision making of the religious all from reputable sources.  At the beginning of my post, before listing the articles, I pointed out that determining motivation is exceptionally difficult unless through personal interview.  Further I pointed out that simply listing sources detailing how God helped them make their decision would be inadequate most likely for the audience at hand.  I could perhaps post up interviews with athletes detailing how God was responsible for their touchdown, but I get the impression that wouldn’t have the effect of actual empirical data. 

People with high religiosity are the most likely to use faith in their decision making process.  Religiosity being a measurement of participation in religion and religious activity is one of few objective measurements that can be used.  From religiosity we can make an inference of faith in decision making.  The authors have proposed theories to explain what is being studied and their theories are certainly ones that I would suppose are at play in this situation.  Faith, as has been pointed out by several posters in the past, cannot be measured.  Religiosity as a measurement tool has the constraint that it measures participation in a social activity and not belief.  Inferred from religiosity can be faith, but once more faith cannot be measured and so a researcher cannot make a claim to faith in any process. 

Saria proposed that faith is bad and that faith in decision making is always bad.  These articles call into question that statement and refute, at least in part, the truth of the statement.  If religiosity is a measurement of participation and participation can be linked to faith, then we can infer that with the use of faith is being used to help the youth avoid risky behavior.  Whether they are making a decision to attend a religious function instead of participating in risky behavior, listening to their parents versus peer groups, seeking out what they feel are healthy peer groups to follow or making a decision to keep active. 

If you prefer a paper with more qualitative interest in faith as a decision making tool then I can propose this paper.  Originally I had rejected the article since the content is not as empirical as the others, but if qualitative is preferred then I will submit the article. 

http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1161&context=commpapers&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dsri%2520lanka%2520religions%2520businessmen%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D4%26ved%3D0CGAQFjAD%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fro.uow.edu.au%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1161%2526context%253Dcommpapers%26ei%3DjLwRUNn8HYuo8AT5v4DACg%26usg%3DAFQjCNFa0yGdJuFjauv1QPYK4H06klxs7A#search=%22sri%20lanka%20religions%20businessmen%22

Considering I have now reviewed and submitted four separate articles dealing with the topic, along with delved through countless other papers and briefings on the subject, I think that I would not be wrong in demanding a little respect for my efforts. 

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #220 on: July 26, 2012, 05:31:13 PM »
I am somewhat confused.  Are we discussing faith or religion?  I am not sure anyone would argue that total faith is ever a good decision making policy.  There has to be some reason/evidence to support a decision even if the remaining factor is faith.  So we are really arguing over a degree of faith, correct?  I have faith that my car will start tomorrow.  There is no way for me to know, for sure, until I try it tomorrow.  But, this is not complete faith because I have all those other days it started as 'evidence' that it will do the same tomorrow.  To me, this seems to make faith merely a matter of expedience.  It also explains why in insignificant circumstances, we are all more likely to take something on faith.  I say I have a dollar bill in my pocket.  People are willing to give me the benefit of the doubt.  If I say I have a message from god that they need to listen to, the skeptics start oozing out of the woodwork.

Does it follow that faith is good for expedience and low risk?

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #221 on: July 26, 2012, 09:03:44 PM »
As the opening poster, I think I should clarify some lines on that Master. The main topic is in regards to ORGANIZED RELIGION. However, I realize that it's impossible to discuss it without the topic of personal faith, so I have no problem with it being discussed, but please try and reign the conversation in. This is about a system we sadly have to live with, the thought processes it targets are secondary.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #222 on: July 26, 2012, 10:28:17 PM »
Thanks for your response  Braioch but I am curious what your thoughts on Pascal's Wager are?

Simple.

I find the insinuation that it is better to have faith in God 'just in case' rather silly. First of all, that's not true belief, you're merely paying lip service so that you can get into heaven. Any god that you are doing this with, by virtue of being omnipotent and all knowing would know you were faking it to get in. So I remain rather comfortable in my belief in a deities lack of existence.

Offline Jebble212

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #223 on: July 26, 2012, 10:34:36 PM »
I see your point and thank you again for answering my question.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #224 on: July 26, 2012, 10:49:45 PM »
You are most welcome. :)