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Old 03-24-2017, 01:56 AM   #101
Aaron W.
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Re: Religion and logic

So, you've decided to abandon your original post completely and launch into a completely separate assortment of issues? It only took two posts from others before you've decided to move on?

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Originally Posted by d2_e4 View Post
On point though - I take issue with religion on a couple of matters, and I won't be particularly diplomatic about it:
If you choose a lack of diplomacy, how is it that you anticipate being treated?

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- Wars. How many ****ing wars are there going to be about religion? Although, to be fair, if there were no religion, people would find something else to fight about. Demagogic leaders will always find something to appeal to the populace.
Let's start by analyzing the question of how many wars there have been that are about religion? There is a variety of causes behind wars, including economics and ethnic issues. How are you sorting out the difference between these causes and religious ones?

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- Laws. Personally, I couldn't care if you want to read the bible (or the Brothers Grimm, or whatever else), but I object when you want to start abridging my rights based on your interpretation of it. I don't really care if your imaginary friend disapproves of where I put my penis - it's none of his business, nor yours.
There are lots of religious people who agree with you! Why are you treating all religious people with such a blanket accusation?

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- Conflation of religion and morality: "Oh you're an atheist, how can you be a good person?" I mean, **** you to anyone who says that. And my own mother said it to me.
Ironically, your original post is the conflation of religion and intelligence. "Oh you're a religious person? How can you be capable of rational thought?" You're basically just committing the exact same error that you're so upset about yourself? This is a textbook demonstration of hypocrisy.

But given the pattern of posting and reasoning demonstrated thus far in this thread, it seems that this is to be expected. After all...

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The mechanism through which you believe what you do about religious people is not that different from the mechanism that religious people use themselves.
So it seems quite expected that you would just continue onward making the same errors again and again.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:54 AM   #102
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Re: Religion and logic

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Nice wording. I like it. I was taught to eschew obfuscation, though.
That was not obfuscation, but clarification.

Your OP contested that religious were incapable of rational thought. The man who proposed the big bang, Georges Lemaître, was a catholic priest and a religious man (he was also a physicist).

For your OP to hold water, that would mean that the big bang theory is devoid of rational thought. If any bit of it is rational, your OP is wrong - because then we would know that at least one religious person is capable of rational thought. There are deeper concerns than that of course, but refuting a blanket statement needs only one counter-example.

For the record, I don't think religious people are less capable of rational thought than non-religious people. I am not religious so I hold no particular inclination to claim this. In fact I think most religions can (and should) be argued against. This leads to me think that rational thought isn't necessarily a very good arbiter of knowledge on its own. A lot of very rational people have can argue some very dubious things.

For example I think you are fairly rational person who is misapplying reason to hold on to your view that religious people are irrational.

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Old 03-26-2017, 07:14 PM   #103
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Re: Religion and logic

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That was not obfuscation, but clarification.

Your OP contested that religious were incapable of rational thought. The man who proposed the big bang, Georges Lemaître, was a catholic priest and a religious man (he was also a physicist).
That's a bad example because the big bang theory doesn't conflict with and in fact sort of verifies some religion's beliefs. But what of a theory that does conflict? Will a religious scientist be unbiased when evaluating it?
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Old 03-27-2017, 04:05 AM   #104
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Re: Religion and logic

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That's a bad example because the big bang theory doesn't conflict with and in fact sort of verifies some religion's beliefs. But what of a theory that does conflict? Will a religious scientist be unbiased when evaluating it?
If the OP had held that people were irrational on beliefs that conflicted with their religious belief I would agree, but the OP simply asserted that religious people were incapable of rational thought. But to answer your question, I suspect that is unproblematic to most. Are there examples? Yes.

Heisenberg was a Christian, but to us he is known first and foremost as the man behind the the uncertainty principle which tell of a fundamental limit to the precision of which certain traits of particles can be known. He wrote to Einstein (who was a strict proponent of causality), stating that "the good Lord God would know the position of the particles. and thus He could let the causality principle continue to have validity". "

So there you have a Christian, who would later be known as one of the greatest physicists of all time, exploring a field in physics that contradict one of the chief principles of theological and scientific arguments since Aristotle and Plato - and who even defends it in letters and arguments with arguably the most renowned physicists of his time.

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Old 03-27-2017, 12:21 PM   #105
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Re: Religion and logic

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But what of a theory that does conflict? Will a religious scientist be unbiased when evaluating it?
Is there even such a thing as an "unbiased analysis" at this level of thought?

Everyone brings their own presuppositional framework to the table when they analyze information. This is why an atheist physicist can look at the Big Bang and say "This is the result of random chance through a mechanism perhaps like a multiverse" and a theist physicist can look at the Big Bang and say "God set this in motion." I think both conclusions could be seen as "rational" in the straightforward sense of the word.
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:09 PM   #106
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Re: Religion and logic

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Is there even such a thing as an "unbiased analysis" at this level of thought?

Everyone brings their own presuppositional framework to the table when they analyze information. This is why an atheist physicist can look at the Big Bang and say "This is the result of random chance through a mechanism perhaps like a multiverse" and a theist physicist can look at the Big Bang and say "God set this in motion." I think both conclusions could be seen as "rational" in the straightforward sense of the word.
What about the scientist who is a member of a religion that believes the universe is 600 years old?
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Old 03-27-2017, 11:43 PM   #107
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What about the scientist who is a member of a religion that believes the universe is 600 years old?
What about it? I can posit that the person is being rational and it's not an absurd thing to think. They might wrong, but wrong and irrational are not the same standard. Do you really think that there do not exist non-religious scientists that believe non-scientific statements? You really don't think that there are other types of bias?

The obvious error is the belief that "science" is some rigid set of claims that all scientists must believe in order to be scientists, so that people who don't believe this rigid set of claims must therefore not be scientists, or must somehow be biased, or whatever.

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Old 03-28-2017, 03:36 AM   #108
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Re: Religion and logic

How do you define rationality in order not to make the belief in a universe that is 600(0) years old irrational? Should any definition of rationality not be based on critical thinking, reasoning and evidence?
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Old 03-28-2017, 06:40 AM   #109
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Re: Religion and logic

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How do you define rationality in order not to make the belief in a universe that is 600(0) years old irrational? Should any definition of rationality not be based on critical thinking, reasoning and evidence?
Now you are arguing against a specific belief held by some religious people, that is completely different than arguing against religious people in general.

I'm not responsible for the silliness of some random atheists down the street, just because I am an atheist myself.

Furthermore, the belief that the earth is 6000 years old is not necessarily irrational if you use the term rational as to mean "based on reason". It is certainly (at this point in time) baseless and goes against credible evidence, but that is not the same as being devoid of reason. In fact, if you examine the belief you will most likely find that many of those who believe this have set up fairly careful explanations as to why all this evidence is wrong. Reason alone is not a good arbiter of truth, observation and testability are equally important.

You might even end up in a scenario where you ask for evidence and the person replies "because the bible says so". If all you can respond to that is "well, science tells me you're wrong" - you're up the creek without a paddle. The correct response is to question the evidence and the quality of the evidence.

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Old 03-28-2017, 11:26 AM   #110
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Re: Religion and logic

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How do you define rationality in order not to make the belief in a universe that is 600(0) years old irrational? Should any definition of rationality not be based on critical thinking, reasoning and evidence?
Rationality is more about the process than the conclusion. So if you are arguing that because someone concluded something else that they're being irrational, you're missing the point completely.

They might simply be irrational, but they might also have reasons, have thought through the situation critically, and have information that they consider to be evidence in their favor. It's impossible to know by just looking at the conclusion.
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:49 PM   #111
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Re: Religion and logic

Ooh this is an easy one...

2500 years ago this dude called Siddhartha spent two years sat under a tree considering how life works. Using only his mind he was able to describe the development of a baby while in the womb. He described the expansion of the universe. The geezer explained atoms!

He was able to explain the logic behind pretty much anything that anyone asked him. I wouldn't actually describe him as religious, he's something different. But he did describe religion. He explained the logic behind it. I specialise in poker theory and I've started to realise that there is far more truth in the bible than we have noticed. It'd just that the logic/the theory behind it is real complicated.

Look it up yourself. When he cracked everything he said that he was no longer Siddhartha, he had become a Buddha.

I'd look up the original sutta's if I were you. These lessons he spoke to men. The later sutras, are the lessons he gave to the angels. Which they passed on in due time. I know I know, I used to think it complete nonsense. But he worked out what an atom was!
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:33 PM   #112
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Re: Religion and logic

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How do you define rationality in order not to make the belief in a universe that is 600(0) years old irrational? Should any definition of rationality not be based on critical thinking, reasoning and evidence?
The creators of syllogistic logic, Euclidean geometry, etc. probably held beliefs that today would be considered irrational:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_mythology

That was a different age with different evidence, of course, but clearly it is at least possible to both believe in gods and be good at critical thinking and reasoning.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:38 PM   #113
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Re: Religion and logic

Question to op:

Looking at the complexity of human body does YOUR logic tell you that you are a descendant of amoeba?

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Old 03-28-2017, 03:48 PM   #114
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Re: Religion and logic

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Rationality is more about the process than the conclusion. So if you are arguing that because someone concluded something else that they're being irrational, you're missing the point completely.

They might simply be irrational, but they might also have reasons, have thought through the situation critically, and have information that they consider to be evidence in their favor. It's impossible to know by just looking at the conclusion.
What I am calling into question are the criteria by which people who hold this particular belief evaluate different sources of information. This is a central part of the process of rational thinking.
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Old 03-28-2017, 03:54 PM   #115
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Re: Religion and logic

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The creators of syllogistic logic, Euclidean geometry, etc. probably held beliefs that today would be considered irrational:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_mythology

That was a different age with different evidence, of course, but clearly it is at least possible to both believe in gods and be good at critical thinking and reasoning.
Like you say times change; scientific discoveries in the last few centuries have produced a plethora of evidence that is in direct contradiction with young earth creationism.
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:06 PM   #116
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What I am calling into question are the criteria by which people who hold this particular belief evaluate different sources of information. This is a central part of the process of rational thinking.
Indeed it is, but that's not actually what you did. You're clearly challenging the statement of the conclusion.

You also seem to be taking a position that there's some sort of "correct" meta-position for evaluating various beliefs. There isn't.
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:08 PM   #117
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Re: Religion and logic

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Like you say times change; scientific discoveries in the last few centuries have produced a plethora of evidence that is in direct contradiction with young earth creationism.
The evidence only says what you think it says if you assume that there is a single right way to interpret the evidence. The interpretation of facts is not as rigid as you would like to believe.

I believe that if you took the entire body of knowledge about the age of the universe to a pre-scientific mindset, they would reject much of it and be fully rational in doing so. The only reason these things seem so obviously true to you is because you've been acculturated into a predisposition to accepting it to be true.
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:24 PM   #118
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Re: Religion and logic

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The evidence only says what you think it says if you assume that there is a single right way to interpret the evidence. The interpretation of facts is not as rigid as you would like to believe.

I believe that if you took the entire body of knowledge about the age of the universe to a pre-scientific mindset, they would reject much of it and be fully rational in doing so. The only reason these things seem so obviously true to you is because you've been acculturated into a predisposition to accepting it to be true.
I trust in the process by which this knowledge has been acquired. This knowledge can be tested, verified, has predictive power, etc.
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:27 PM   #119
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Re: Religion and logic

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Indeed it is, but that's not actually what you did. You're clearly challenging the statement of the conclusion.

You also seem to be taking a position that there's some sort of "correct" meta-position for evaluating various beliefs. There isn't.
By this measure every belief that is not directly self-contradictory is not irrational. This is putting the bar for rationality a bit too low in my opinion.
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:35 PM   #120
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I trust in the process by which this knowledge has been acquired. This knowledge can be tested, verified, has predictive power, etc.
This type of vague scientism is fine as a mantra, but it's also very incomplete. In many ways, you really don't around through life using this methodology to form your beliefs.
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:37 PM   #121
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Re: Religion and logic

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By this measure every belief that is not directly self-contradictory is not irrational. This is putting the bar for rationality a bit too low in my opinion.
Your opinion may not really matter. You stated a list of things that you thought rationality should be based on:

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Originally Posted by you
Should any definition of rationality not be based on critical thinking, reasoning and evidence?
The answer is yes. And rationality as I've described is based on those things. You just don't seem to like rationality when people reach conclusions that are different than yours. Rather than dealing with the fact that they are rational, you're now trying to play the true scotsman game and redefine rationality to be something more so that you can proclaim yourself to be the rational one and that the others are irrational.

It's just far more correct to say that you believe that they're wrong.
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Old 03-28-2017, 05:22 PM   #122
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Re: Religion and logic

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Like you say times change; scientific discoveries in the last few centuries have produced a plethora of evidence that is in direct contradiction with young earth creationism.
Okay, but I'm not entirely sure what your point is. Logic seems to have little to do with belief. Also, it is certainly not illogical to assume the world was created 6000 years ago, and indeed all kinds of false assumptions are made in reductio ad absurdum arguments.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:19 AM   #123
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Re: Religion and logic

My point is that, while it may not be irrational to be a a young earth creationist if you do some willful bending of definitions and use this same process of wilfull bending in order to accept the absolute truth of certain information, it most certainly is demonstrably wrong to hold these beliefs. Unless you believe in a deity which supernaturally interferes in our measurements of radiometric dating, plate tectonics, red-shift, mapping of mitochondrial DNA sequences, etc etc.
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:00 AM   #124
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Re: Religion and logic

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My point is that, while it may not be irrational to be a a young earth creationist if you do some willful bending of definitions and use this same process of wilfull bending in order to accept the absolute truth of certain information, it most certainly is demonstrably wrong to hold these beliefs. Unless you believe in a deity which supernaturally interferes in our measurements of radiometric dating, plate tectonics, red-shift, mapping of mitochondrial DNA sequences, etc etc.
I have no issues with that and would say it is a healthy statement. I would also say that the quality of evidence that the YEC could show is demonstrably worse than the quality of evidence that favors that the earth is around 4,5 billion years old.

I would also say that you can demonstrate irrationality, for example if a person refuses the existence of vast amount of fossils and current geological theories but accepts the existence of large oil reservoirs and the techniques for finding them, then the person is being irrational since he holds that similar scientific criteria is true in one case and false in another.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:48 AM   #125
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Re: Religion and logic

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My point is that, while it may not be irrational to be a a young earth creationist if you do some willful bending of definitions and use this same process of wilfull bending in order to accept the absolute truth of certain information, it most certainly is demonstrably wrong to hold these beliefs. Unless you believe in a deity which supernaturally interferes in our measurements of radiometric dating, plate tectonics, red-shift, mapping of mitochondrial DNA sequences, etc etc.
You seem to have circled back to what I was saying while trying your hardest not to admit error.

First, I affirm the use of wrong rather than irrational.

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It's just far more correct to say that you believe that they're wrong.
Second, I question whether there's actually any "bending" of definitions.

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Should any definition of rationality not be based on critical thinking, reasoning and evidence?
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They might also have reasons, have thought through the situation critically, and have information that they consider to be evidence in their favor.
Third, from your perspective, you should be concerned about the phrasing "absolute truth" when combining it with your scientism perspective. By most conceptions of science, "absolute truth" isn't actually a desired goal or outcome.

Lastly, it's a simple intellectual exercise to think through your last sentence and realize that "interference" with those measurements isn't actually necessary. If you believe in a purely naturalistic universe (one that progresses only by natural laws), you cannot deny the possibility that the universe was created only a couple seconds ago, and that the initial conditions are such that you believe the universe is very old.

If you're going to take scientism as your philosophical outlook on knowledge, you will need to scale back the certitude of your statements about the universe to remain consistent.
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