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He's Dead!

This is a discussion on He's Dead! within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by Yarin I'm not sure what you mean. Are you actually saying that anti-abortionists are people who try ...

  1. #31
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean. Are you actually saying that anti-abortionists are people who try to control everyone else as per God's will?
    Duh. Except as an atheist I would say -- well this is kind of obvious...maybe "God's will" is some paradox, or misunderstanding,* or

    Yeah, religion is like that - whether theistic or not.
    Religion IS THEISTIC. Any other use of the term is METAPHORICAL. I also use the term metaphorically that way, as in, "Your have these religious convictions about..." by which I mean "You have these totally irrational convictions about...".

    Not to pry, Yarin, but I find it intriguing that someone who is religious? or defending religiosity? might, in some subtle jibe kind-of-a-way, use "religion" in this metaphorically pejorative way, to imply something like, "Yeah, well we all have our own emotionally/culturally/my-parents-whatever-atively way of clinging to preposterous belief systems, so really you are no better than me with yer politics and and yer open source mongering and yer high and mighty ethical style about things that are no more or less real and likely than GOD."

    But maybe I am reading too much into all that, LOL.

    ps. please don't mention all this to laserlight

    * or socio-political power grabbing, which it obviously is.
    Last edited by MK27; 05-04-2011 at 04:40 PM.
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  2. #32
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Duh. Except as an atheist I would say -- well this is kind of obvious...maybe "God's will" is some paradox, or misunderstanding,* or
    This is getting more philosophical. Everyone is going to want what they believe to be right to be law, regardless of the fact that others disagree. I'm sure you do too, right? That's the way that works, theism aside.

    As for "God's will", yes, that one is almost exclusively used pretty much as you say - and plenty of times, a simple excuse for one's frailty or otherwise "preferred" course of action.
    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Religion IS THEISTIC. ...
    No. Wiki describes it decently well. For example, there are plenty of atheistic Buddhists.
    Really, your too hung up on "religion". If you actually mean theism, then you should say that instead, they aren't synonyms.
    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Not to pry, Yarin, but I find it intriguing that someone who is religious? or defending religiosity? might, in some subtle jibe kind-of-a-way, use "religion" in this metaphorically pejorative way, to imply something like, "Yeah, well we all have our own emotionally/culturally/my-parents-whatever-atively way of clinging to preposterous belief systems, so really you are no better than me with yer politics and and yer open source mongering and yer high and mighty ethical style about things that are no more or less real and likely than GOD."
    Again, this is more philosophical, yes I would say we all cling to beliefs (some to greater degrees than others) that we have simply because we were initially told so, and don't want to, or haven't got around to challenging them. But that's not was I trying to imply. (Though, I would also say that we're all religious to varying degrees, even if you try not to be. It's an integral component of culture.)
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  3. #33
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Everyone is going to want what they believe to be right to be law, regardless of the fact that others disagree.
    There are people who want what they think is right to be the law and there are people who want religious doctrine to become the law. The religious right exist in America because of faith based politics. Whether it's appropriate for MK27 to point out hypocrisy in the faithful, well, I don't care.

    If I acted like New York did, I wouldn't be comfortable with myself right now. I'd think I'm not being impartial towards a stranger's death.

    I'm sure anyone can get that virtue. I don't think geography excuses people.
    Last edited by whiteflags; 05-04-2011 at 07:13 PM.

  4. #34
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    Now that has to be an article with a lot of 10' poles in it

    I think saying "Religion is a cultural system that creates powerful and long-lasting meaning by establishing symbols that relate humanity to beliefs and values" is essentially equating religion with culture, and it is the kind of statement a pseudo-intellectual religious person would make in order to justify the continued existence of religion as something inescapable or universal, like culture. They are the "religious left", and I hope they have the good grace to die off quietly someday, instead of kicking a dead, badly dismembered and decomposing horse.

    For starters, you would have to be theistic to believe that "beliefs and values" have some existence independent of "humanity" to which "humanity" could be related -- if they had religion. No dice. Beliefs and values are conceptual, categorical ways of understanding rational thought. Rational thought is an activity of the mind. Squirrels, which have a mind, and can reason, also have beliefs and values, and as a country dweller and bird feeder I have been struggling with these lately. But I will not credit them with religion. Or maybe I should say: they are "blessedly" free of it.*

    I think non (or "a") theistic Buddhism (which I flirted with, heh-heh) derives from a time and place prior to, and outside of, Rationalism proper, which is a Western phenomenon. There are historical, pre-rationalist Western parallels (spun from gnosticism) and at least one other obvious non-Western, Islamic parallel (Sufism). These represent a struggle with with socio-linguistic constraints, which is why for such "athiestic" religious sects every statement becomes metaphorical or parable. That does distinguish them from theists, who ultimately must claim that God is literally real.

    But this has nothing to do with the contemporary religious right, who are explicitly about literalism, even if they are blatantly hypocritical about it. The Bible literally tells them homosexuality is wrong, end of story. The Bible literally tells them "thou shalt not kill" -- well thou shalt now search one's concordances to find something to justify everything, because such people are EVIL (in an atheistic, non-religious sense) and that is what they do (manipulate, lie, kill, and then lie again).

    * they are also blessedly free of technology, so I win :P
    Last edited by MK27; 05-04-2011 at 07:59 PM.
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  5. #35
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    It is reasonable for people to celebrate but it is not in the benefit of anyone. Yes, you are reminding that the bad guy will be killed but also that a lunatic can cause so much damage that his death is celebrated by the whole country. You cannot win against terrorism, you shouldn't pretend so. The goal is to try to prevent it. Go, remove them and pretend that nothing happened. This is no an "honorable" war. It is killing a criminal for the benefit of the global society.

    In other words I am glad but not satisfied. Won't ever be. It will be a black moment in history and nothing can fix that. Don't really see why to celebrate.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Now that has to be an article with a lot of 10' poles in it

    I think saying "Religion is a cultural system that creates powerful and long-lasting meaning by establishing symbols that relate humanity to beliefs and values" is essentially equating religion with culture, and it is the kind of statement a pseudo-intellectual religious person would make in order to justify the continued existence of religion as something inescapable or universal, like culture. They are the "religious left", and I hope they have the good grace to die off quietly someday, instead of kicking a dead, badly dismembered and decomposing horse.

    I think you read more into this than what is there, it says: "Religion is a cultural system.." not the only possible such system, and is therfor not assigning any universal truths to it. A universal truth is not dependent on "believers", religion is a human activity, separated from the eventual existance of a God.

  7. #37
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subsonics View Post
    I think you read more into this than what is there, it says: "Religion is a cultural system.." not the only possible such system
    Good point, but the rest of the sentence, "...that creates powerful and long-lasting meaning by establishing symbols that relate humanity to beliefs and values" makes that ambiguous; the "a" could mean not the only possible system that does this, or not the only possible "cultural system", but still that religion is the system which "creates powerful and long-lasting meaning by establishing symbols that relate humanity to beliefs and values".

    Otherwise, this is not a necessary and sufficient definition of religion, which is what Yarin seemed to be using the wikipedia reference as. A necessary and sufficient definition would include those characteristics which make religion distinct from other parallel systems that do the same thing. IMO, this certainly includes what kinds of beliefs and values religion creates symbols for. These are not just any kind of beliefs. Fundamentally, religion is about belief in a supernatural order -- ethics, naturalism and rationalism are also "cultural systems" that "create powerful and long-lasting meaning by establishing symbols that relate humanity to beliefs and values" but they are are not religious systems. My criticism of Yarin was to use the term religion to apply to ANY set of meaningful beliefs and values. That is an obfuscation and implies that being a rationalist, and having strong rational convictions about something, is no different in kind than being a Muslim, Buddhist, or Christian.

    That is false. The point of rationalism is to not rely on the supernatural and other prejudices for explanations. This is why rational beliefs can be argued against one another, whereas religious beliefs often cannot -- particularly across cultures.

    The wikipedia article downplays the significance of supernaturalism and theism to religion, so Yarin used it to support his argument that "religion can be non-theistic" which is also false. Of course, I am equating a belief in the supernatural (spirits, Gods, karma, etc) with Theism (more narrowly defined as "Deities only"), but rationally I do not see much difference in this context.
    Last edited by MK27; 05-09-2011 at 09:11 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    The point of rationalism is to not rely on the supernatural and other prejudices for explanations. This is why rational beliefs can be argued against one another, whereas religious beliefs often cannot -- particularly across cultures.
    I agree but I have to say though, that rationalism (logic) often answers a different set of questions.

  9. #39
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subsonics View Post
    I agree but I have to say though, that rationalism (logic) often answers a different set of questions.
    Hmm... not sure if I understand what you mean. Rational thinking isn't something that is bounded by some kind of "field of expertise". You don't apply rational thinking to question A and not to question B. Rational thinking is universal in scope. It's not better suited for this or that, but equally fundamental. It's in fact at the core of human development.

    Ironically, judging from modern new faiths and how they are born -- and there's no reason to suspect they are any different from what was happening in antiquity -- I'm even lead to argue Rational Thinking is at the source of Religion. Besides, all religions try to support their dogmas by wrapping them around logical argumentation. Fallacious logic, but still there. The purpose is to naturally inhibit rational thinking within its bosom. Maybe that's what you mean when you say rational thinking doesn't provide answers to faith. But that warrants the following analogy:

    If you are watching Macbeth you both enjoy the drama as be a critic of the titular character thirst for power. I mean, here we have Macbeth being told by the Three Witches he's going to be king. Yet, his thirst for power leads him to commit regicide. What bloody for!? You were going to be king anyways, you numbnuts! Result: He gets his head chopped of. Not before being King, of course. But his ruin was spelled the moment he killed the king. But if you are not a viewer and you are the actor playing Macbeth, your view of the universe is limited to the play. How it was constructed and the rules. And you will always kill the king and get Macbeth head chopped off. You live by a set of rules. And your Rational thinking is inhibited by either yourself or your director who will probably chop your real head off if you so much dare play a Macbeth who just sits it out until he becomes a king by lawful means.

    So Rational thinking, like the outside viewer demonstrates, can try and offer answers to faith (and boy, did we!). It's unbounded, and doesn't accept the limitations of the little golden fishes that insist not leaving their bowls.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 05-09-2011 at 06:17 PM.
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Ok, I should have added a bit more to that I guess. I'm not disputing that rational thinking is at the core of human development, at least technical development. When speaking about rational thinking here we are talking about making logical conclusions from a premise I guess. Applied logic (and math) do have bounds, in that a proof is only really valid within the system itself, strictly speaking logic can not prove the first premise by itself. And so when this is applied to gain knowledge outside the system, it falls back on establishing the premise by observations or measurements, and thus perception and our view on what is worth measuring and what we are able to measure and so on. It's interesting that attempts made to make this process more strict (cleaning up "fuzzier" sciences) also leaves a whole lot "outside" of what kind of questions that really can be answered while maintaining this strict definition of truth. Granted, this can be viewed as some kind of extreme skepticism or logical positivism I think there are fundamental questions that many humans ask them selves where science or our rational thinking doesn't provides satisfying answers.

  11. #41
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Religion in Greek is tied with the meaning of God. It's meaning always involved God or of the divine. In the Wikipedia article you can see the Latin meaning is between those lines as well. I don't find why the etymology can differ from the actual meaning. The Wikipedia article contradicts itself.
    If you believe in a higher power, but not follow any specific religion, you are in your way religious. If you follow a specific "order" that doesn't believe in a God or a higher power, you are not religious. You can be a believer, you can be faithful, but regardless, religious is not the most accurate word.
    It is true that things have changed. Scientists could be considered more faithful in their believes than Christians in their religion in modern times. The fact that we tie religion with absolute faith is a misconception. The same goes when people label things as "philosophical" compare to "scientifical", where one came from the other.

    Concluding, words should be used with their etymology, what they actually mean and where they come from. Not how they are commonly used. This just creates confusion and unnecessary disagreement.

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua
    Concluding, words should be used with their etymology, what they actually mean and where they come from. Not how they are commonly used. This just creates confusion and unnecessary disagreement.
    How a word is commonly used causes development in the etymology of the word and can define what the word actually means, in the current time and place of its common usage, to the people that use it.
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  13. #43
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Etymology means true/accurate meaning of the word. It doesn't really changes. It is defined preferably once. If you want a new meaning you can use a new word.
    Commonly used is not a good way to go with the meaning of a word. Religion is commonly used differently for example.

  14. #44
    and the Hat of Guessing tabstop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    Etymology means true/accurate meaning of the word. It doesn't really changes. It is defined preferably once. If you want a new meaning you can use a new word.
    Commonly used is not a good way to go with the meaning of a word. Religion is commonly used differently for example.
    Well, that's the etymology of "etymology", but that's not what etymology actually means in English. Etymology just means (in English) the derivation of a word, it's history of usage. But what a word meant before isn't always (I'm tempted to say isn't ever) what it means now.
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  15. #45
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Still, I would be tempted to agree with C_ntua since I'm personally always very intolerant towards changes to the etymology of a word (I still hold a grudge to this day for the changes to the word hacker, for instance).

    However, on this particular case I will have to disagree strongly with him. First and foremost the way a word is constructed isn't to be taken as a literal representation of its meaning. But essentially the fact that a word like Religion is, by the very nature of what it tries to represent, in constant adaptation and always inclusive. Drawing a parallel, the word science is inclusive of any new scientific fields that throughout history were discovered and added to it. We simply didn't decide, to preserve whatever ancient meaning the word might have had (which erroneously included philosophy, for instance), invent a new word whenever a new scientific field emerged with debatable practices. Science today includes all manner of scientific fields, some more arguable than others. So, why wouldn't Buddhism be considered a religion?
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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