5 of 5
5
Beyond Belief 2006
Posted: 01 February 2007 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  508
Joined  2006-04-18

But he goes on at great length about indoctrination…isn’t that making your kid go to church or sunday school?

Anyway we are in agreement that Dawkins is using the most piquant rhetoric,  I agree with Konner that it could bite us all in the ass.

There have been some child custody cases where the Atheist parents were forced to take the child to church, and even one Subgenius leader who had to fight for custody because she was a member of the church of Subgenius. The judge was Catholic, and found the vileness of her “religion” to be a harm to the child.

wikinews

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2007 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  44
Joined  2006-12-30

I feel enlivened by this conference as I see more of the programs. I am also grateful for the internet making the conference available as well as providing the capability to review a presentation.

Patricia Churchland suggested that we do not find the traditional distinction of ‘ought’ and ‘is’ in every day interactions. She told of ethical behavior in other animals, as well as the role of neurotransmitters in influencing behavior. Susan Neiman gave a more traditional take on ought/is, supporting the role of reason in ethical deliberation, among other things using the example of Sodom and Gomorrah: Abraham appeals to reason in order get God to agree not to destroy the cities if a few righteous people could be shown to reside there.

Elizabeth Loftus summarized the research on false memories (interestingly, less than 50% of people are susceptible to having false memories implanted) and Mahzarin Banaji provided an eye-opening demonstration of the role of bias.

One lesson is that in spite of our susceptibility to misperception ( think optical illusion), to misremember, to be subject to inborn behavior and neurochemical influences; our perceptions, memories and responses to our environment and the people around us do serve us well in the main (I think Ramachandran made a point along those lines in his presentation). Further, our ability to reflect on our mistakes, and the factors influencing our perceptions and responses, allows us to free ourselves, at least in part, of these constraints.

There seems to be a fallacy by which we box ourselves in, one that I became aware of in the ‘Free Will’ thread on the Philosophy forum; a fallacy to which the arguments from determinism, for example, are prone: we become so attached to a concept that when it runs counter to our daily life, we reject daily life in favor of the concept. Plato did that when, arguing from instances that our senses can be fooled, he claimed that our senses are unreliable. Determinists, arguing from the principle that every action has a cause, claim that choice is an illusion, as every act or phenomenon has an antecedent cause, which itself is but one link in a causal chain.

[I do not mean to slight the contributions of Paul Davies who suggests a way of looking at the universe that does not depend on infinite regress or some first principle, Loyal Rue who presented an interesting model for the role of myth in culture, or Steven Nadler’s discussion of Spinoza (I must read his books, Nadler’s that is; I have read much of Spinoza, have found it hard going, perhaps I will try again with Nadler as my mentor).]

The Beyond Belief conference is a splendid opportunity to hear and see some brilliant, agile and learned minds sharing the fruits of modern research and thought, providing ideas for a comprehensive secular view of the world and human life.

 Signature 

Robert Burdick

A member of the reality-based community.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2007 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  44
Joined  2006-12-30

Looking back over this thread, I found George Benedik’s Nov 23 post and something struck me: the intolerance the Abrahamic religions, Judaisms, Islamisms, and Christianities, have for non-Abrahamic religions.

I was listening to a BBC program about India which reminded me of an idea I had heard before: that polytheistic religions have far less problem with other religions, or lack of religion for that matter. Is this a myth or is there an Abrahamic meme that fosters that intolerance? I do not find that Zoroastrianism shares in that intolerance - although conversion and intermarriage are not generally accepted - so perhaps intolerance is not specific to monotheisms.

Were or are there other religions that show levels of intolerance similar to the Abrahamic? If not, perhaps as a first step secularists could remove the focus (and threat) from religion per se and concentrate on Abrahamic fundamentalists.

 Signature 

Robert Burdick

A member of the reality-based community.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2007 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14
[quote author=“Acher”]I was listening to a BBC program about India which reminded me of an idea I had heard before: that polytheistic religions have far less problem with other religions, or lack of religion for that matter. Is this a myth or is there an Abrahamic meme that fosters that intolerance?

IIRC people have actually discussed this a lot in religious studies circles. Polytheistic religions have a tendency to just get along with neighboring religions: they simply say that so-and-so’s deity is a manifestation of one of their gods, or they simply put him into their firmament as well.

I believe that Hindus believe that Jesus is a manifestation of one of the Hindu deities. I forget which one, offhand.

Re. atheism, I’m not as sure, but one of the defining features of the Abrahamic religions is that they believe in a “jealous god”, that is, a god who DEMANDS obedience, in his name in particular. This makes polytheists problematic to Abrahamistc religionists, but it also makes atheists problematic. (The polytheists may not be particularly enamored of atheism, but at least they don’t believe so strongly in “jealous gods”).

People like Dawkins talk about how this meme of a “jealous god” is one of the things that makes Abrahamic religions so formidable. They do not brook of wishy-washy semi-belief, or of belief in a firmament of other deities or the like. This is one of the standard views as to how Christianity out-competed the Roman and Greek religions back at its founding. The Christians were basically religious fanatics of a sort: they believed in a “jealous god”. Roman and Greek religious beliefs, OTOH, were mostly of a social character, and lacked real religious fanaticism.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
   
5 of 5
5