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Why do people use so much bias when debating about religion?
Posted: 13 December 2012 10:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
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It seems to me that when people debate about religion (or atheism), they concentrate entirely on the points that support their argument while immediately rejecting any views or opinions that disagree with their own. They treat the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything as if it’s a meaningless football game and they must support their team by yelling at the TV screen which is philosophy. When weighing the importance of this ultimate question, it seems obvious that an unbiased approach which addresses all possibilities should be used.

Answer this question for me:
Why, then, do people hold onto their beliefs so tightly that their ideas are unchangeable even through logical debate?

Or if you disagree with the unbiased approach to religion and atheism, please tell me why.


also please ignore the paradox that it is my own biased opinion that arguments should not be biased

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Posted: 14 December 2012 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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theBdude - 13 December 2012 10:09 PM

It seems to me that when people debate about religion (or atheism), they concentrate entirely on the points that support their argument while immediately rejecting any views or opinions that disagree with their own. They treat the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything as if it’s a meaningless football game and they must support their team by yelling at the TV screen which is philosophy. When weighing the importance of this ultimate question, it seems obvious that an unbiased approach which addresses all possibilities should be used.

Answer this question for me:
Why, then, do people hold onto their beliefs so tightly that their ideas are unchangeable even through logical debate?

Or if you disagree with the unbiased approach to religion and atheism, please tell me why.


also please ignore the paradox that it is my own biased opinion that arguments should not be biased

The simple answer is that the way most human’s brains operate, doesn’t help with logic.

It’s impossible for anyone to be totally unbiased - except possibly extremely autistic individuals, so that is unavoidable.  BUT, the scientific method has been effective in discovering undeniable things about our universe i.e. the laws of physics/chemistry, these “laws” can be, and are challenged quite often, but they seem to always hold up. In that sense, other possibilities are basically just excuses why someone doesn’t like them.

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Posted: 14 December 2012 03:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Why, then, do people hold onto their beliefs so tightly that their ideas are unchangeable even through logical debate?

The evidence is that human brains evolved that way…to hold to beliefs when one had few or no facts to go on…as a means of survival.

If you want to get right down to the nitty gritty on this, you might want to get a copy of Michael Shermer’s “The Believing Brain” and also “Why People Believe Wierd Things” as he deals with this extensively. If you don’t want to buy a copy, you should be able to get one at your local library either right off the shelf or through Interlibrary Loan.

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Posted: 14 December 2012 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Why do people use so much bias when debating about religion?

Maybe because those monkey-loving nerfherders love to sling their own feces?

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Posted: 15 December 2012 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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theBdude - 13 December 2012 10:09 PM

It seems to me that when people debate about religion (or atheism), they concentrate entirely on the points that support their argument while immediately rejecting any views or opinions that disagree with their own. They treat the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything as if it’s a meaningless football game and they must support their team by yelling at the TV screen which is philosophy. When weighing the importance of this ultimate question, it seems obvious that an unbiased approach which addresses all possibilities should be used.

Answer this question for me:
Why, then, do people hold onto their beliefs so tightly that their ideas are unchangeable even through logical debate?

Or if you disagree with the unbiased approach to religion and atheism, please tell me why.


also please ignore the paradox that it is my own biased opinion that arguments should not be biased

Sounds to me like you are confusing relgion with theology. 

Religion is social organization.  Theology is a particular set of beliefs that evolved in various social circumstances to meet the needs of particular peoples at particular times.  It can change as peoples needs change.

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All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 18 December 2012 09:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think a lot of factors come into this especially how the Belief was formed and reinforced in the person’s mind.  Some of the same factors could effect how the belief could be challenged or even abandoned.  This could apply to politics but maybe more for religion.

It’s worth considering that more people form solid political opinions later in life while religion can begin almost immediately with infants.

Another thing is Religion can be tied in even more with family heritage like a legacy.  For example, someone may profess themselves as an Irish Catholic especially on St. Patrick’s Day.  In that case the belief has been integrated into their identity. 

The real tricky thing is how can a belief be blown over in someone’s mind.  I think this rarely happens through arguing unless the person has some doubt in their mind already.  How that doubt forms is key and probably happens in a lot of crazy random ways from life experience.  One way might be from a comedian cracking jokes about religion.  Many might be offended but good funny jokes wrapped around truths on religion may catch the person off guard.  I’m thinking old material from Bill Hicks.

It may even be incremental if they are exposed to another Religion that they weigh against theirs.  I seriously think it’s different experience when two Religions butt heads then Religion versus Non-Belief.  There needs to be a fundamental difference though, they can’t be 2 Monotheisms because those quickly agree to disagree and resume their rivalry.  A Monotheism should be challenged by Pagans or Buddhists or Hindus.

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Posted: 18 December 2012 11:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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theBdude - 13 December 2012 10:09 PM

It seems to me that when people debate about religion (or atheism), they concentrate entirely on the points that support their argument while immediately rejecting any views or opinions that disagree with their own. They treat the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything as if it’s a meaningless football game and they must support their team by yelling at the TV screen which is philosophy. When weighing the importance of this ultimate question, it seems obvious that an unbiased approach which addresses all possibilities should be used.

Answer this question for me:
Why, then, do people hold onto their beliefs so tightly that their ideas are unchangeable even through logical debate?

Or if you disagree with the unbiased approach to religion and atheism, please tell me why.


also please ignore the paradox that it is my own biased opinion that arguments should not be biased

Our consciousness is necessarily inductive over deductive because the survival of the cells of the body require a mechanism that interprets a relatively indeterminable environment. So the logic of our minds are totally different than a computer’s. It is associative meaning that it just continues to collect the memories and connect them to every instance of other similar memories to make maps. Our consciousness survives if it makes successful motor decisions (actions) that interpret reality not by absolute truth but by the incomplete data of patterns.
Beliefs are just pretenses of truth that allow us to predict and act on future events. They could be more flexible to allow them to be erased when reality provides sufficient proof of something different. But if we experience enough associations in time with those beliefs because a particular environment has use for them, they become ingrained in a complex matrix of multiple associations to those beliefs in memory. They then become hardwired in place and can cause real physical stress and effort to remove ones that turn out to be falsified later. If one were born with a brain that enables it to be too easy to remove these beliefs, then it would too easy to disassociate oneself from changing environments.  For instance, a baby Giselle with such a brain might too easily disassociate its memories (beliefs) regarding its herd’s trend to keep together. It may wonder off and attempt to join in with a den of lions and thus not live long enough to pass its genetic mutation to be more logical.

In arguments, people can be swayed by a logical reasoning that is sufficient to prove them wrong. But the deeply entrenched beliefs they’ve held for a lifetime can become as intuitive as walking (they may not hold all the original memories that gave them their belief because the brain makes short circuits to them by pruning). People’s emotions often prevent them from consenting a defeat in debate, but the function of the argument is still useful because given more experience, even the hard-wired memories will break loose. The ones who don’t accept the logical outcome are those who usually remove themselves from further debate to avoid conflict with all they know or want to know.

[ Edited: 18 December 2012 11:37 PM by Scott Mayers ]
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Posted: 20 December 2012 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 14 December 2012 03:23 AM

Why, then, do people hold onto their beliefs so tightly that their ideas are unchangeable even through logical debate?

The evidence is that human brains evolved that way…to hold to beliefs when one had few or no facts to go on…as a means of survival.

If you want to get right down to the nitty gritty on this, you might want to get a copy of Michael Shermer’s “The Believing Brain” and also “Why People Believe Wierd Things” as he deals with this extensively. If you don’t want to buy a copy, you should be able to get one at your local library either right off the shelf or through Interlibrary Loan.

Why is it that people who should really know better allow themselves to be mesmerized by credentials and titles as if these things substituted for experience in the subjects they claim expertise in? Like atheists writing about God and spiritual reality when none of them has ever experienced it. Only fools listen to “authority” claims of those without experience in what they claim to know all about. To further test how skewered towards atheist bias Michael Shermer against other religions as long as it isn’t Jewish atheism he’s talking about because being Jewish, he protects Judaism’s racist ideology and racist Israel enterprise from moral scrutiny, as he attacks Christianity atheism being OK in Judaism that was always more about loyalty to tribal nationalism than God anyway. If you are content with the atheist irrationality posing as authorities on a subject they know nothing about, then by all means read Michael Shermer. And then go further and read how he’s on the side of those who trash freedom of speech and democratic rights who are quite willing to lock up anyone who disagrees with the grossly inflated Jewish Holocaust numbers if one can imagine such a thing in a professional instructor.

Who’s that other Jewish guy at the head of the other atheist organization always attacking demonstrations of the Christian faith? Jews are using atheist Gentiles to attack Christianity and Gentile atheists haven’t a clue how they’re being used. And please, no accusations of “anti-Semitism” because I am Jewish and support real Semitic peoples like Palestinians being treated as scapegoats made to pay the price for European Jewish anger over European Gentile treatment of European Jews.

[ Edited: 20 December 2012 07:58 PM by arielmessenger ]
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Posted: 21 December 2012 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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arielmessenger - 20 December 2012 07:55 PM

Why is it that people who should really know better allow themselves to be mesmerized by credentials and titles as if these things substituted for experience in the subjects they claim expertise in? Like atheists writing about God and spiritual reality when none of them has ever experienced it. Only fools listen to “authority” claims of those without experience in what they claim to know all about. To further test how skewered towards atheist bias Michael Shermer against other religions as long as it isn’t Jewish atheism he’s talking about because being Jewish, he protects Judaism’s racist ideology and racist Israel enterprise from moral scrutiny, as he attacks Christianity atheism being OK in Judaism that was always more about loyalty to tribal nationalism than God anyway. If you are content with the atheist irrationality posing as authorities on a subject they know nothing about, then by all means read Michael Shermer. And then go further and read how he’s on the side of those who trash freedom of speech and democratic rights who are quite willing to lock up anyone who disagrees with the grossly inflated Jewish Holocaust numbers if one can imagine such a thing in a professional instructor.

Who’s that other Jewish guy at the head of the other atheist organization always attacking demonstrations of the Christian faith? Jews are using atheist Gentiles to attack Christianity and Gentile atheists haven’t a clue how they’re being used. And please, no accusations of “anti-Semitism” because I am Jewish and support real Semitic peoples like Palestinians being treated as scapegoats made to pay the price for European Jewish anger over European Gentile treatment of European Jews.

While you are correct to recognize that people have personal motives and agendas that encourage certain behaviors, it does not logically detract the content of good reasoning on some other issue. I, and I’m sure most people (I hope), recognize the bias factors of people’s motives in their emotional fervor for their arguments. And while it’s also good to discuss these in those people, let’s be fair and also recognize their arguments for what they are too.
    You’re presence here to be able to speak is an example of such fairness. Everyone here doesn’t necessarily agree with everything that the person, Michael Shermer, may do, or believe, in his personal life. It doesn’t matter. Being skeptical and arguing as fairly as possible does. There’s no need to assume that everyone here has blinders on to people’s personal motives. Try to present evidence to show why you think Michael Shermer’s credibility for his particular arguments show unusual bias.

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Posted: 21 December 2012 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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As to your argument against an atheist referring to an authority, I agree that it is best to argue the particular case out on your own rather than sending someone off elsewhere to do research when possible. But there is a difference that should be recognized when and where the argument of authority is actually faulty. If I was arguing with someone about whether a God exists or not and they tried to argue that my lack of reading the Bible (an authority) disqualifies me from determining God’s existence, I can be sure that such reasoning is faulty for many reasons. If, however, I tried to argue particular knowledge of its content as a book of literature, the lack of reading it would become relevant and the authority argument is fair.

The authority granted to Michael Shermer is to the content of his written material, not to his political or cultural preferences. EOC was merely making a recommendation as such.

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Posted: 21 December 2012 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Kahneman’s book offers excellent answers why humans experience cognitive biases

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow

We can learn to become aware of them.

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Posted: 21 December 2012 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Who’s that other Jewish guy at the head of the other atheist organization always attacking demonstrations of the Christian faith?

So a Jewish guy at the head of an atheist organization is the villain now??????

Your bigotry is showing.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 21 December 2012 08:54 AM

Who’s that other Jewish guy at the head of the other atheist organization always attacking demonstrations of the Christian faith?

So a Jewish guy at the head of an atheist organization is the villain now??????

Your bigotry is showing.

Two Jewish guys at the head of two atheist organizations, both known for their attacks on public displays of Christian icons and not ever a word against Jewish actions against human rights. I’m Jewish so I can and do point out that Jews are using atheist organizations to carry on their ancient religious war with Christians and Christianity.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Let’s see how this logic works.  You appear to be a male, and I also am a male, so I can call you an asshole.  Do I have it right?

Occam

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Posted: 22 December 2012 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Well, since religion is about belief, yours and mine do not need to match.  In particular, I am under no obligation whatsoever to honor and accept your belief, as a belief is determined strictly by faith.

The difficulty I see in many religious people is that they demand I honor their untested, unverifiable assertions of deities, ancient fairy tales, etc.

I am under no such obligation, and in fact demanding such obligation is an act of consumate, unethical, unChristian bigotry.

I conclude (note, not believe) that there is no god or gods, no devil, no satan, no lucifer (except the kind used to light fags in the UK), no ancestors, no coyote, etc.

I am not obligated to honor those who believe otherwise in any way, shape, or form. Furthermore, any such demand, in any way, shape or form, is an act of vile prejudice.

Do we understand each other, Ariel?

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Posted: 22 December 2012 10:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I’m Jewish so I can and do point out that Jews are using atheist organizations to carry on their ancient religious war with Christians and Christianity.

Being Jewish doesn’t give you any special authority, and your bigotry is still showing.

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