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 Why religious moderation is bad (video)
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2006 :  21:00:02  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, speaks live at Idea City '05.

It's a longish video, clocks in a little over 20 minutes, but contains some very astute observations in my opinion.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2006 :  11:19:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Well worth watching. But again, show me reasonable evidence it's the extremists that do the most damage. His only fault with moderates is that moderates close off any criticism of religion. Atheists don't much like observations made about religion either. It has little to do with religion itself, but superstitious thinking. The idea that you have a problem, and that you can solve it by killing yourself and others is a dumber idea than the idea that there is a god. That has nothing to do with religion, except that religion is a subset of dumb ideas.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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sts60
Skeptic Friend

141 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2006 :  15:07:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sts60 a Private Message
Moderates close off any criticism of religion? (scratches head)

Religious moderates, secular moderates, or both?
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2006 :  16:42:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
His point is that religious moderates make criticism of religion taboo. Not my idea, but his.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2006 :  17:16:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Gorgo
Atheists don't much like observations made about religion either.
That hasn't been my experience.

quote:
It has little to do with religion itself, but superstitious thinking.
I would put both of those things in the same category.

quote:
The idea that you have a problem, and that you can solve it by killing yourself and others is a dumber idea than the idea that there is a god. That has nothing to do with religion, except that religion is a subset of dumb ideas.
Religious thinking is not simply a bad idea. It is a door by which bad ideas gain entrance. Religion says it is sound thinking to believe in things, anything, without evidence that they even exist.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 09/24/2006 17:17:46
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Ghost_Skeptic
SFN Regular

Canada
510 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2006 :  00:11:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ghost_Skeptic a Private Message
Sam Harris is a woo according to JREF!
quote:
I am writing to endorse your enthusiastic recommendation (in last week's Swift) of Sam Harris's "End of Faith," but also to sound a note of caution. When Harris rails against theistic religions, End of Faith is a terrific read and a powerful argument, but when in the final chapter he turns approvingly towards Eastern mysticism and spirituality, he veers into woo-woo territory.

A warning sign appears very early in the book: in his introductory chapter (page 41) he states that

There also seems to be a body of data attesting to the reality of psychic phenomena, much of which has been ignored by mainstream science.

Turn to note 18 on page 232 to see his justification for this statement, and you will find an astonishing paragraph citing books by Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake as evidence. Harris also notes that Ian Stevenson's work (on children supposedly born with memories of past lives) "may be credible evidence for reincarnation."


Say it isn't so godless Sam say it isn't so.



"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. / You can send a kid to college but you can't make him think." - B.B. King

History is made by stupid people - The Arrogant Worms

"The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism." - William Osler

"Religion is the natural home of the psychopath" - Pat Condell

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter" - Thomas Jefferson
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2006 :  02:57:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
quote:
Religious thinking is not simply a bad idea. It is a door by which bad ideas gain entrance. Religion says it is sound thinking to believe in things, anything, without evidence that they even exist.


Religion makes dumb ideas sacred. Patriotism makes dumb ideas sacred. Patriotism and religion are caused by other beliefs about one's self and one's world.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 09/25/2006 03:36:56
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leoofno
Skeptic Friend

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2006 :  04:59:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send leoofno a Private Message
quote:

Originally posted by Gorgo

Religion makes dumb ideas sacred. Patriotism makes dumb ideas sacred. Patriotism and religion are caused by other beliefs about one's self and one's world.


I think I see where you are coming from, Gorgo. Patriotiam can be an irrational belief. People born into a country can come to think that they belong to the best country in the world. "My country, love it or leave it". For no other reason than because they were born there and have been indoctrinated by family and society to think so. Just like religion.

I remember my surprise when I finally visited Europe, many years ago, only to discover that most Europeans did not think the USA was the greatest country in the world. Quite the opposite for many of them. (They especially ridiculed our foreign policy, and that was way before Iraq.) I had thought that everyone would love to move to the USA if they could, but they mostly had no interst whatsoever. In fact, they were rather fond of their own countries, thank you very much. Since then, I've noticed that when countries have been ranked based on objective criteria, as has been done often, the USA is usually not at the top of the list.

"If you're not terrified, you're not paying attention." Eric Alterman
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2006 :  05:38:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
If we're opening this up to a criticism of Sam, the book is like a Michael Moore movie. Well worth seeing, with some important information and viewpoints to stir discussion, but very rambling and leaves one with a sense of wondering what the project was about.

One very strange side trip takes on atheist Noam Chomsky. Sam agrees with Chomsky on 99% of what Chomsky says, but then takes issue with something he seems to know little about. Clinton's illegal destruction of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. He completely misses Chomsky's point besides. Then off to some other bit of irrelevance.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2006 :  07:06:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Humbert, I think one can find more than one place in these forums where atheists object to observations made which sound slightly critical of theists. marfknox's and my attempts at discussion are one. This is another;

http://www.skepticfriends.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6016&whichpage=1

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2006 :  08:47:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Well, Sam Harris certainly is a mixed bag. Much of what he says about religion rings true to me. On the other hand, I do see hope for a rational view of the natural world by religious moderates who are best positioned to influence the fundamentalists, or at least prevent some of the flock from going in that direction. They are a growing force. Those able to separate their faith from what science tells us without melting down I consider allies. I know I am simply being pragmatic here. But hey…

As for eastern religions, I must say that even though they are woo woo, they don't get in the way of science. A couple of weekends ago I had a semi private meeting with an Indian Guru. I can't say that I was persuaded to change my views, but his views did not offend me. If all of religion were like those guys, religion wouldn't be an issue for us beyond our usual skepticism of claims to anything existing beyond the realm we live in…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2006 :  15:42:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
His points about respecting beliefs is on the money.

I have been saying it for years, why does religion get a free pass on the basic standards of evidence that any person would apply to things as simple as crossing a street?


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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