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Author Topic: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'  (Read 3099 times)

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Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« on: July 02, 2013, 12:39:44 AM »
Just in case y'all want to weigh in.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 12:49:33 AM »
For the record, I'd appreciate it - I am evaluating my position here and would like to see it subjected to strong attack. If anyone has a point to raise that they think will get into a lengthy digression, please PM me.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2013, 07:20:29 PM »
I read through the dialogue and I fear a lot of it went over my head.  I apologize if I mischaracterize either of your positions.

So, is the point that we can not design, through logic, a moral compass in which we do the least harm?

I believe I agree with Ephiral that appealing to emotion is not a logical, nor necessarily a very beneficial means of devising a moral compass.  Could it be their our emotional reactions are strongly influenced by our environment?

Do I understand you correctly, Kythia, that only Christianity's morals can work because god wants you to be happy?  That argument evaporates if those morals were designed by men and not god.  You are then no better off than any atheist and possibly much worse off because you are working with an outdated rules set...one designed for a completely different environment.

Kythia, if I may continue to argue my understanding of your position.  You believe you were unhappy because you were selfish before finding Christianity.  What if you were unhappy simply because you lacked long term vision?  You could have been selfish and realized your happiness depends on others and therefore you should not, for lack of a better phrase, not be a jerk to everyone.

I hope I have not completely butchered the debate here.  I also hope I have not insulated anyone and that my statements are somewhat coherent.

I would like to thank the two of you for sharing this.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2013, 08:51:49 PM »
You certainly haven't mischaracterised mine, Ephiral can speak for himself.  Now, some of these points I'll address in thread as they seem directly relevant.  However, with your permission I'm going to sit on them for a while.  The reason is simple - Ephiral is AFK for a while to deal with some other business and I've already made three posts on the trot.  Making a fourth pretty much tips this over the edge from dialogue to monologue - I'd like to give her a chance to get a word in edgeways.

Quote
Do I understand you correctly, Kythia, that only Christianity's morals can work because god wants you to be happy?  That argument evaporates if those morals were designed by men and not god.  You are then no better off than any atheist and possibly much worse off because you are working with an outdated rules set...one designed for a completely different environment.

You do, yes.  Understand me correctly, I mean.  I think your argument is incorrect though as I think you're making a false dichotomy, namely that Christian morals must have been designed by God OR man.  Look at Exodus and Deuteronomy.  What we have there is the remnants of a legal code for governing a nation.  I have no doubt that there was a blindingly good reason for not wearing clothes made of two materials because, well, why else would that law have been made?  It's no longer relevant though - "designed for a completely different environment" as you rightly say.  And, after some awkward twisting and turning to see the label, I can confirm that my jogging shorts are made from a mixture of nylon and cotton.  A coincidence, really - I don't go out of my way to say "Ha, screw you, Samhedrin! I'll wear clothes made out of as many materials as I want!  Mwa ha ha!" - but neither do I pay any attention to that law.  Sure, its arguable whether that's a matter of morals anyway, but you take my point.  Aspects of Christianity are developed by man and are suited to a particular time/place/etc and of questionable relevance outside there.

All of this, I'll caveat this here and now but it applies to the above and the below, is solely my opinion. 

The Bible, as a whole, was written by man.  Everything in there fits into that category.  Even the bits that a modern person may like - loving thy neighbour and all that malarkey.  Written by man, for a particular time and place. 

The Bible, however, was inspired by God.  It's not like the Koran which is viewed as God's direct word.  It's more like if you went on to write a book based on this conversation.  There'll be bits you haven't remembered, bits you took something different than what was intended, etc.  Yanno, hypothetically.  But the end result will be coloured by your - your perceptions, prejudices, etc and the particular time and place where you live.

So lets look at one of the less palatable passages - written by Paul in his letter to the Romans:

Romans 1:26-28 (translation is KJV)
Quote
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

("convenient" in that last passage means "proper" or "normal") 

It's one of Paul's trademark rants against homosexuality.

Now, there's divine inspiration there.  but it's filtered through Paul's personal/cultural/societal/etc perceptions. 

Now look at Genesis 9.  This is God talking to Noah after the Ark has made landfall and the flood has receded:

Genesis 9:7 (KJV again)
Quote
And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

God's saying shag and be merry, have loads of kids.  Traditionally Moses wrote Genesis.  Obviously he didn't, but lets use "Moses" as a placeholder for the author of that passage, if we might.  The Jews at the time of writing of this section were (probably) in the middle of what's called the "Babylonian Captivity".  They were essentially slaves to the way more powerful Babylonians.  And Moses' writing was influenced by the time and place he was in.  He wanted the Jews (I'm actually wrong to use Jews here, but I hope you'll forgive me) to prosper, to spread, to grow in power.

I believe there is the same message here.  That God wants humanity to grow, prosper and be strong.  Moses has seen it through his glasses as essentially what it is, Paul through his glasses as believing sex that doesn't/can't lead to procreation is morally repugnant.  That's because Paul's a dick.  Hardly a controversial point.

So tying that together, I believe Christian morals were interpreted by man but inspired by God.  Specific rules are, indeed, "designed for a completely different environment" but that's because the authors were fallible and shackled by their culture and prior notions as much as anyone else was.  However, taking everything as a whole, and being mindful of those biases, a consistent message emerges - a glimpse here, a glimpse there, understanding slowly growing as time passages and Christian tradition is added to.  Just as by reading the book you wrote about this conversation and the book Vekseid wrote and the book, errrr, someone else wrote and comparing the similar themes, we can get a clearer picture of the actual conversation than from your book alone.

Does that answer?

Your other point I will, with your permission, address in thread.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2013, 12:33:34 AM »
So, is the point that we can not design, through logic, a moral compass in which we do the least harm?

I believe I agree with Ephiral that appealing to emotion is not a logical, nor necessarily a very beneficial means of devising a moral compass.  Could it be their our emotional reactions are strongly influenced by our environment?
I kicked this off largely because I see the assumption that we can't design a secular, conscious moral code all the time, and I figured Kythia is the sort of awesome person who could help me understand it.

To clarify a bit, I absolutely think that emotion has a place in morality - but it should be an output, and is instead generally used as an input. One of the red flags I tend to use, in fact, is just that: If "I find it icky!" is the first or only reason I can give to object to something, then I should probably sit down and shut up and let people go about their business.

Kythia, if I may continue to argue my understanding of your position.  You believe you were unhappy because you were selfish before finding Christianity.  What if you were unhappy simply because you lacked long term vision?  You could have been selfish and realized your happiness depends on others and therefore you should not, for lack of a better phrase, not be a jerk to everyone.

This is what I was touching on with my reference to game and security theory in the OP.

I hope I have not completely butchered the debate here.  I also hope I have not insulated anyone and that my statements are somewhat coherent.

I would like to thank the two of you for sharing this.
You're quite welcome! You seem to be getting the gist of it as far as I can tell. And please do insulate me - I need to get out of this heat.   ;D

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2013, 01:10:35 AM »
And please do insulate me - I need to get out of this heat.   ;D

This is exactly the reason I should not be let anywhere near a religious or political thread.  Not because I mispelled a word.  I mispelled it because I was in such a damn hurry to post.  I just can't resist jumping in and giving my two cents.

Quote from: KythiaTopic
God's saying shag and be merry, have loads of kids.

I believe Ephiral is making a very similar argument in the dialogue, but as I said, I can't resist jumping in. 

One, I believe you are picking out the morals that match the ones you have already developed within yourself from your environment.  They only seem divinely inspired because they match the way you think the world should be.

Two, if the divine word can be so horribly butchered by a single, authoritative individual, I would be very hesitant to put my faith into any of the rest of it.  How can I know something else is not equally butchered?

For me, even as an atheist, number two is not an excuse to simply toss the entire Bible aside.  I believe I am equiped with more or less the same morals you are, so I can judge which pieces are worth keeping and which are not.  I have the advantage of not trying to decipher the true intent of an unknown authority.  I simply acknowledge the parts I like and discard the parts I do not.  They must each stand on their own merit.  This also allows me to draw, in the same way, from other sources, such as the Tao Te Ching, Buddhists koans or anywhere else I may find useful words.

None of it need be divinely inspired and when someone challenges me on any particular moral I feel like preaching, I do not have to fall back on the authority of the writing, which is questionable, but on my own reasoning for adopting it...which had better be damned good for having adopted it.


Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 01:17:35 AM »
This is exactly the reason I should not be let anywhere near a religious or political thread.  Not because I mispelled a word.  I mispelled it because I was in such a damn hurry to post.  I just can't resist jumping in and giving my two cents.
*giggles* I'm the same way - you'll be hard-pressed to find a post I've made and not edited (outside of Dialogues), because I often post and then go "Wait, did I just say that? That's stupid." Moving the discussion to Dialogues has been good for me because it makes me slow down and get my shit together.

For me, even as an atheist, number two is not an excuse to simply toss the entire Bible aside.  I believe I am equiped with more or less the same morals you are, so I can judge which pieces are worth keeping and which are not.  I have the advantage of not trying to decipher the true intent of an unknown authority.  I simply acknowledge the parts I like and discard the parts I do not.  They must each stand on their own merit.  This also allows me to draw, in the same way, from other sources, such as the Tao Te Ching, Buddhists koans or anywhere else I may find useful words.

None of it need be divinely inspired and when someone challenges me on any particular moral I feel like preaching, I do not have to fall back on the authority of the writing, which is questionable, but on my own reasoning for adopting it...which had better be damned good for having adopted it.
Frankly, and without meaning to sneer at anyone's faith, I tend to avoid religious works when it comes to morality, except maybe as a source of propositions to consider on their own merits. They don't even try to reason out their arguments - it's just not the language they speak. This is... a considerable weakness, if you want a rational and reasoned system.

Offline Retribution

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 01:32:10 PM »
Sorry guys I meant this to go here and hit the wrong button. I will C&P but feel free to ignore the idiot.


I will not cite material like the two of you but as an aside with religion and science. I am a practicing biologist and if you are a biologist and do not believe in evolution you are well not much of a biologist.  :-) I am also a practicing Catholic see an issue there? Wrong actually, while there may have been back during the Inquisition there is not really now. I graduated from Catholic high school more because of a better private education than religion. BUT I was first taught evolution there by a nun.

To keep this from getting too long: I do not blindly follow everything the church preaches and I do not blindly follow everything someone calling themselves a scientist well preaches. God gave me a brain and I chose to use it. Generally though we reach points that science cannot explain and I attribute that to god. A strict it is all just like in the bible stance is silly and for the ignorant. Science is a great tool for me for how the world and universe around me works, but religion is a great moral compass.

I could go into specific places I do not follow the "good Catholic" party line. But suffice to say I go about 50/50 in agreement with the church. But I do not see religion and science as one or the other and there is now also a scientific division in the Vatican. So I am pretty sure the church does not either. Extremists and fanatics of any flavor are a bad thing no matter if they are Christian, Muslim, Pagan, or Atheist. Also many overly religious sorts use that as an excuse to be pretentious and snotty which is a direct contradiction to most religious teachings.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 03:11:11 PM »
@Retribution.

I actually think the anti-science position of the Catholic Church has been greatly exaggerated.  They never came out against evolution as a body (though, granted, prominent Catholics did on an individual basis) and the current position :

Quote from: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the 'Big Bang' and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.54 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution

which seems pretty unarguably pro-evolution to me.  Senior Vatican officials (though granted not the Church as a body) have also criticised Intelligent Design. 

I think a lot of it comes from the house arrest of Galileo.  But there's a couple of issues there.  First, this was the enlightenment and a load of new scientific theories were emerging contrary to Catholic dogma.  Galileo is one of the very few that was arrested.  But, sure, thats kinda like standing in front of the judge and arguing you should be let free because, hey, look at all the people you didn't murder.

More importantly, though, he was tainted by Giordano Bruno who, sure, held that the earth revolved around the sun but also held a metric fuck ton of heretical beliefs.  He was burnt at the stake for those beliefs and it kinda tainted heliocentrism for Galileo.  But even after Galileo started on about it, it wasn't until he attacked (in writing) the Pope that he was arrested.  Essentially, had Bruno not been such a dick and given the Copernican model (hey, Copernicus - another dude the Church had no massive issue with), the Galileo affair might well never have happened.

*shrug*

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 03:21:14 PM »
Rats, forgot the second half of that post.

@Ephiral - you should check out Taleb's work - "The Black Swan" and "Antifragile".  It's the core of my problem with your argument.

Offline Retribution

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2013, 03:29:40 PM »
The History Channel did a bit on Secrets of the Vatican. The one priest essentially said "we fucked up" but much more eloquently than I just put it. From what I have read in the past one of Galileo's big issues was lack of personality with a side of arrogance as you touched on with him attacking the Pope.

My kids are more active in the church than me, but they also are capable of thinking on their own and not just digesting what they might be fed at church. The point is radicals in religion no matter the religion are a BIG problem. Sadly I think radicals are caused by the twin demons of poverty and lack of education. It is easy to be led astray when you are hungry and someone will feed you for example. But that is a whole other ball of wax. The Catholic church breeds these things IMHO for self preservation like with their stance against birth control for example. I went to school with a family of 22 kids who were dirt poor and turned to the church for everything. But now my inner cynic is showing.

I think most mistakes of religion are the construct of human beings. Get two or more of them together and they spin it to their own point of view. I do not let that disrupt my belief that there is some sort of greater being out there. I may not know all of the answers but I think there is something more. And I do not think that view means I should exclude clear science because it goes against something stated in the bible.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2013, 10:09:35 PM »
Rats, forgot the second half of that post.

@Ephiral - you should check out Taleb's work - "The Black Swan" and "Antifragile".  It's the core of my problem with your argument.

I have not read them, but... well, I'm a security-theory nut, which means I'm all too familiar with black swan theory. It's one of a long list of cognitive biases that I absolutely loathe... and that are best countered by being aware of them and looking at what the numbers actually say. Antifragility, from the quick overview I've found, appears to be exactly what I'm trying to build into an ethics framework - existing ones are pretty damn fragile.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2013, 07:09:29 AM »
I'd beg to differ.  You seem to be proposing a system that requires constant oversight by knowledgeable and charismatic* individuals in order to stay on track.  Constant oversight and warding is the very definition of fragility.

*Charismatic because no matter how objectively correct your ideas they still need to be communicated effectively.  I'm using charismatic here as a shorthand for articulate, intelligent, persuasive, all the other adjectives that mean "can communicate an idea effectively"

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2013, 09:21:41 AM »
Whereas I say that "actually breaking down on a regular basis" is a stronger indication of fragility. Moral systems live in human brains; I see it as perfectly acceptable to use those brains - which, after all, are the source of most of the error - as part of the error-correction mechanism. I've danced around this without saying it outright, which is my fault, but it's not about a handful of charismatic and knowledgeable individuals - it's about teaching rationality and counter-bias reasoning alongside the moral framework, so the work can be distributed and the end result can be more robust.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2013, 11:04:50 AM »
I'm using "fragile" in Taleb's sense, sorry.  Antifragile would be a system that benefits from making down, a system that doesn't break down is merely robust.

I hadn't realised, apologies, that you were proposing a broader system of rationality as a basis for a moral code, I had read you to mean that your code was transferable to those with biases intact.  But that just makes my objection to your proposed system stronger.  We seemed to agree that eliminating one bias - luxury being subjective not objective - brought the viability of the system into question.  Eliminating all of them?  For every human?  Surely that damages the system almost infinitely more than the problems caused by just eliminating one of the,.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2013, 01:26:18 PM »
I don't think it damages it so much as helps correct it. I admit what I've put forth is faulty - this is due in small part to the fact that the work is not finished by a long shot, and in large part to the fact that I'm trying to reason from first principles in isolation. The distinction I see is that this system is at least somewhat error-correcting, while others are quite often error-prone - sometimes going so far as to rest, fundamentally, on significant faults in human reasoning. (The most common examples I can think of offhand are affective spirals, semantic stopsigns, and reasoning from the conclusion to the justification.) A system that depends on faults is going to have significant faults baked into it; a system trying to correct for them might not be perfect but is not built on sand.

Perhaps I misunderstood, then. I took "antifragile" to mean a system that is strengthened by real-world tests and attempts to damage it, not one that gets better after breaking down. Being prone to periodic catastrophic failure (ie, breaking down) strikes me as pretty damn fragile, no matter how well you rebuild it afterward.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2013, 02:06:29 PM »
Gonna address those points in thread as they tie into something I wanted to say in the broader discussion anyway.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2013, 11:14:08 PM »
It's hot here and is making me grumpy.  I am, I have noticed, utterly unfairly taking that grumpiness out on Ephiral.

Ephiral has, generously, agreed to put this conversation on hold for a few days so I can get it all out of my system and not look like any more of a megabitch than I presumably already do.  She's a star.  So I'll return to this in a few days when I'm capable of holding a decent discussion with him without getting pissy.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2013, 05:39:28 PM »
I, for one, enjoy seeing both sides being debated civily rather than the usual "You're stupid!"  "Why are you insulting my beliefs?!"

It seems we like to put people (or ideas) into black or white containers.  It has been my experience, people (and ideas) never quite fit into black or white containers.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2013, 09:08:29 PM »
Ephiral,

I've deliberately done this in here rather than the main thread as I feel it steps outside the dialogue slightly.

I've tried to address this before and made an offensive hash of it.  You rightly called me up on it.  However, I do think I need to try to address this again.

Imagine I claimed I had found flaws in Shannon's work, but in explaining them it became clear that there were basic concepts and terms underpinning it that I had no understood or was using in an extremely nonstandard way.  I don't think it would be unreasonable of you to say "I think you need to go away and read up on the subject a bit more."  Your insistence that belief in a divine is a sine qua non of religion has kind of reached that stage.  You raised the issue last time I tried to bring this up that saying "you're not qualified" is not the correct way to answer this.  But, well, do you remember a PM conversation we had?  And your opinion of my not knowing of someone and how that affected my ability to discuss the topic?  Clearly you feel that there is a case, sometimes, for "you're not qualified to discuss this."

This is no comment on your intelligence, simply on the background knowledge you are lacking.  I'm happy to point you to the relevant journal articles and suchlike - although a  fair amount are in German - but at the moment I don't see that first half of the conversation going anywhere at all.  Look at this from your viewpoint.  You have mentioned in the dialogue that there are some claims you consider so unlikely that they are not worth investigating.  Is it likely that you, having heard a brief precis of the theory, have spotted a flaw that has escaped a hundred years of scholars despite evidently lacking some of the underpinning knowledge?  I take your previous point about constantly questioning what we know but that needs to be done by people who understand the issues better than you, or I for that matter.

To briefly answer your question regarding atheism, Judaism and Odin - the process of not being a member of a religion any more is called apostasy.  Apostasy in Judaism is well defined and lack of belief in G-d simply doesn't form part of it.  To the extent that Jewish athesists are a recognized demograph that includes prominent rabbis.  The difference between your two scenarios is a fundamental concept with parallels across most religions.

Again, I'm happy to direct you to the sources you'll need if you're at all interested.  I just don't see continued discussion on the topic being at all productive.



I've done this in here for a couple of reasons.  One, though I have tried as hard as I can not to be offensive I have no real way of knowing how successful I've been.  Doing it in here allows other people than just you to call me out for being a bitch in case you, for whatever reason, felt unwilling.  Two as I wanted to get your opinions, assuming you were willing to give them, on that matter prior to posting in the main debate thread and either incorrectly ignoring your points regarding the progression of religion when you felt they needed addressing or vice versa.

Once again, any offense I have caused here was entirely accidental and please accept my apologies.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2013, 09:39:45 PM »
I'm sorry. I misunderstood; I saw you, personally, asserting that atheism is a special case, and assumed it was not part of the theory. I'd be interested in being pointed at the articles you're speaking from. I admit I am unfamiliar with the theory you brought up; my questions were motivated at least as much by "there's obviously something I'm missing here" as by "this is obviously contradictory".

In the meantime, I'm happy leaving that portion of the discussion by the wayside.

There's no offense for me to take here.

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2013, 10:58:37 AM »
I just read your last post Kythia, and out of curiosity, how would that apply to religions that are Atheistic in nature? For instance Buddhism, while speaking of Nirvana and in some instances revering Buddha as a God, but not actually needing a God to exist. On the same instance there is at least one other instance, I can't remember what it's called off the top of my head (merely that I heard about it in my religions course), that was atheistic in nature, merely believing in a place similar to Nirvana.


Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2013, 04:49:22 PM »
Heya Rogue,

Well, the specific example of Buddhism isn't actually an overly good one.  Don't forget that Siddhārtha Gautama was born within a religious tradition - Hindu for the sake of ease, though that term is startlingly imprecise.  So that development of religion had already happened by the time the Buddha was born, even were Buddhism strictly atheistic - and look at the likes of the Celestial Buddhas in the mahāyāna school for deities in Buddhism - its not meaningfully different from Ephiral's mention of Bentham.  It's an atheistic practice growing out of a religious milieu.  I'm not sure how well I've put this across so I'm gonna try again in another phrasing in the hope one of them sticks.

Every culture has developed gods.  In the place where Buddhism was founded this was largely Vedic Brahminism, but the specifics aren't overly relevant.  The Buddha came along after that.  While I wouldn't go so far as to say Buddhism grew from the Vedic traditions - though I think there's an argument to be made that it did - the core point is that the culture of Siddhārtha Gautama had already been through the steps of developing gods.  Imagine if you, Rogue, came up with a revelation in atheistic thought, a new way to be an atheist.  It wouldn't change the fact that the European culture had already come up with gods.

So the reason I think Buddhism isn't a terribly good example is that while it's a coherent atheistic (broadly) teaching, it's one that postdated and in fact was in deliberate and conscious opposition to the predominant theistic one (look at the Kālāma Sutta, for example).

So a load of religions that are "atheistic in nature" - Buddhism for the sake of argument, Samkhya school Hinduism, etc - don't affect the argument any more than Bentham does, they're simply too late.  They come after the gods have already been envisaged and from the same place.

Obviously I can't talk specifically about the other example you give.  Sounds broadly like some sort of neo-paganism, but meh.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2013, 04:53:41 PM »
Also, fuck.  Forgot to pick up those references.  *adds to tomorrow's to do list*

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Re: Religion and Science - Ephiral and Kythia chattin'
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2013, 09:14:18 PM »
Heya Rogue,

Well, the specific example of Buddhism isn't actually an overly good one.  Don't forget that Siddhārtha Gautama was born within a religious tradition - Hindu for the sake of ease, though that term is startlingly imprecise.  So that development of religion had already happened by the time the Buddha was born, even were Buddhism strictly atheistic - and look at the likes of the Celestial Buddhas in the mahāyāna school for deities in Buddhism - its not meaningfully different from Ephiral's mention of Bentham.  It's an atheistic practice growing out of a religious milieu.  I'm not sure how well I've put this across so I'm gonna try again in another phrasing in the hope one of them sticks.

Every culture has developed gods.  In the place where Buddhism was founded this was largely Vedic Brahminism, but the specifics aren't overly relevant.  The Buddha came along after that.  While I wouldn't go so far as to say Buddhism grew from the Vedic traditions - though I think there's an argument to be made that it did - the core point is that the culture of Siddhārtha Gautama had already been through the steps of developing gods.  Imagine if you, Rogue, came up with a revelation in atheistic thought, a new way to be an atheist.  It wouldn't change the fact that the European culture had already come up with gods.

So the reason I think Buddhism isn't a terribly good example is that while it's a coherent atheistic (broadly) teaching, it's one that postdated and in fact was in deliberate and conscious opposition to the predominant theistic one (look at the Kālāma Sutta, for example).

So a load of religions that are "atheistic in nature" - Buddhism for the sake of argument, Samkhya school Hinduism, etc - don't affect the argument any more than Bentham does, they're simply too late.  They come after the gods have already been envisaged and from the same place.

Obviously I can't talk specifically about the other example you give.  Sounds broadly like some sort of neo-paganism, but meh.

It's not Neo-Paganism... it's an old religion. I just... don't care enough to find it. I just was curious on your outlook on it. :)