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Dave W.
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USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2012 :  11:38:32  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just had a moment of enlightenment while reading some comments over on Pharyngula.

It's not enough to argue for rationalism, or atheism, or skepticism, or freethought, or secularism or any of the many other things we argue for here. We need to advocate against the many social problems that motivate people to embrace religion or other anti-science attitudes.

Everybody comes to their beliefs through a lifetime of experiences, and for many people, those experiences include things like poverty, hunger, abuse, drugs, harassment, violence, etc. Merely saying that the beliefs they have are wrong isn't going to endear us to them, and it's unlikely to change any current thinking, it's just going to annoy them.

It isn't likely that a Bigfoot hunter (for example) who took to that as an escape from the mind-numbing drudgery and class oppression in his coal-mining town is going to throw his beliefs in the trash just because someone repeatedly points out that the evidence appears to all be fake. What needs to be done is to eliminate the negative cultural attitudes that people like him grew up with, that prompted him to search for and find a sort of mental life jacket in the first place.

So, it's not enough to say, "Religion Bad!" We need to be advocates for sociological studies of the causes of religious adherence and to act on the findings to promote a world culture free of their influence. Similarly, it's not enough to say, "Bigfoot Fake!" Or "Ghosts Unreal!" Or "Alt-Med Kills!" Or any of a huge number of other things we skeptics generally enjoy saying. We need to learn the root causes of these beliefs and argue politically for their elimination.

And generally speaking, it seems to me that one of the primary causes of the embrace of irrationality is going to be the power imbalances that come from social inequities. Racism, nationalism, sexism, classism and a boatload of other -isms exert cultural stresses which can result in people seeking out comfortable fictions just to try to escape. Popularity of religious belief is well-correlated with income inequalities the world over, for example, and it's likely that there are causal feedback loops between the two conditions. If we were to eliminate income inequality, religion won't vanish entirely, but it appears that it'd be a lot less prevalent.

So we cannot just be skeptics and pat ourselves on the backs for a job well done. We need to be advocates for social justice of all kinds if we intend for our grandchildrens' grandchildrens' grandchildren to live in a world where they don't have to deal with the negative consequences of woo on a daily basis. Science and skepticism won't get us to that goal alone.

Of course, they are still required. For one thing, critical thinking is necessary to discover the methods through which injustices push people into irrationality and the extent to which they are responsible. For another, we need the facts of science to combat the bad results of irrational beliefs right here and now (for example, the NCSE litigating against attempts to introduce creationism in our classrooms). But neither science nor skepticism can correct the cultural problems that lead to the rejection of reason. For that, we require political action to shift attitudes and eliminate social practices which encourage injustice.

By analogy, the NCSE (again, for example) is like medication for high blood pressure. It's required now and it works well, but what's really needed instead is for society as a whole to embrace healthy diets and regular exercise, which - if it happens someday in the far future - will eliminate most of the need for the medication. What I'm saying is that if we fix the underlying social problems that cause people to hew to creationism, we won't need the NCSE any longer. We should all be working towards making Eugenie Scott's job superfluous.

And Richard Dawkins' job. And DJ Grothe's. And Michael Shermer's. Etc, etc.

Now alls we needs is a plan...

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2012 :  13:21:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well Dave. That's a pretty tall order! Didn't Michael Shermer have an idea along those lines? And aren't we already working on such a future by choosing the politics we think should be promoting? (Even though there isn't a whole lot of agreement on exactly what politic we should be promoting to reach those goals.) I'm a liberal. So I argue for a more even distribution of wealth, access to health care, and all those other things that worry people. As you correctly pointed out, less worry (more happiness) correlates well with less religiosity, though I doubt if that it means less woo. But even there, we know a lot about the causes from a psychological standpoint. Now what?


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Dave W.
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USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2012 :  14:24:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Basically, Kil, I'm saying that those people who think that the Skeptic Movement should be entirely focused on Scientific Skepticism and exclude all political/religious/etc concerns are shooting themselves in the foot if their goals include the spread of rationality. Ditto those in the atheist movement who think that helping to out closeted atheists and pointing and laughing at religious fools will be enough to make religion eventually vanish. That was my epiphany (if you will).

I'll admit to not being good at large-scale planning. Now what? On a grand scale, I have no idea. But personally, I'm going to change my priorities and try to learn a lot more about the relevant sociology so that maybe, someday, I can become an effective actor in the field instead of the largely defensive player I have been (which might help raise awareness, but doesn't towards a solution).

I don't think any single politic for such a wide range of inequities will be sufficient. The most-vocal personal freedoms advocates appear to generally be conservative (or libertarian), while reducing income inequality seems to be a liberal priority. I think any partisanship on our part will only slow our progress, since no single party (of which I am aware) is going to be for all the things we should be for.

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Dave W.
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Posted - 06/14/2012 :  14:24:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Plus, I just wanted to get this out for discussion. Might help formulate a plan, that way.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2012 :  15:28:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave:
Basically, Kil, I'm saying that those people who think that the Skeptic Movement should be entirely focused on Scientific Skepticism and exclude all political/religious/etc concerns are shooting themselves in the foot if their goals include the spread of rationality.

The epistemology or combination of epistemologies (test and conclusion) are necessarily limiting. But the promotion of the epistemologies are not. Skeptics do promote science, scientific education, politicians who are friendly to science and so on. We promote it here without actually engaging in the method. But I agree that we could be doing a better job of it. On the other hand, our community, since I started out, has grown enormously. I don't see any reason why it won't continue to grow. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be looking for better, more effective ways to extend our reach. We should always be thinking about that.

More generally, both skeptics and rational atheists often fall under the same umbrella. We are all part of the freethinking community. We should always be looking for ways to extend our reach. The only part I worry about is the conflation of epistemologies. What that means is that more than one method of determining what is true and what isn't true is being promoted side by side, but not as the same thing. I personally think it's important to make those distinctions understood while more generally promoting freethinking.

Dave:
Plus, I just wanted to get this out for discussion. Might help formulate a plan, that way.


Right.


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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2012 :  19:02:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

The epistemology or combination of epistemologies (test and conclusion) are necessarily limiting. But the promotion of the epistemologies are not. Skeptics do promote science, scientific education, politicians who are friendly to science and so on. We promote it here without actually engaging in the method. But I agree that we could be doing a better job of it.
Do you think better science education and public science policy will negate, even partially, widespread racism, sexism, etc.? I don't think people are embracing woo solely because they haven't been exposed to good science education.
On the other hand, our community, since I started out, has grown enormously. I don't see any reason why it won't continue to grow.
I'm not sure that the growth isn't just a "reporting bias." In other words, I think it's people who have been long-time skeptics who have been joining the public discussion and thus swelling the ranks, not unlike how better diagnosis has led to a dramatic upsurge in autism-spectrum prevalence.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't be looking for better, more effective ways to extend our reach. We should always be thinking about that.
And I'm talking about a completely different method of achieving the goal. I'm talking about a world in which outreach is unnecessary because people are happier and content with reality, and so don't go looking to fill their dreary lives with magic.
More generally, both skeptics and rational atheists often fall under the same umbrella. We are all part of the freethinking community. We should always be looking for ways to extend our reach. The only part I worry about is the conflation of epistemologies. What that means is that more than one method of determining what is true and what isn't true is being promoted side by side, but not as the same thing. I personally think it's important to make those distinctions understood while more generally promoting freethinking.
And I see different distinctions than those promoting Scientific Skepticism. I see science as a tool of skepticism, not the other way around. In that way, I can say that so-called "weak" atheism is a skeptical conclusion, even if it's not a scientific conclusion.

You see, the conflation of science and skepticism is what bothers me.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2012 :  21:13:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave:
Do you think better science education and public science policy will negate, even partially, widespread racism, sexism, etc.? I don't think people are embracing woo solely because they haven't been exposed to good science education.


Actually, I think science has already played a roll in how we view a lot of things. Race is not considered to be valid anymore, for example, because the differences between people within so-called races have the same amount of genetic diversity as they do with people of other so-called races. Does racism still exist? Yes. Is it as bad as it used to be? Depends on where you are I guess. But the fact that we have a black president must mean that it's gotten somewhat better here. Did science help to change that? Yeah. I think it did.

Dave:
I'm not sure that the growth isn't just a "reporting bias."

Back in 1982 I was reading SI. It was a small quarterly publication. Their offices were in Buffalo NY. And that was it. Now they are worldwide. SFN beat them and the Jref to the internet. Also, many of todayís skeptics werenít even born yet. Now Iíll grant you this. The internet has done more than any SI to bring people in contact with skepticism. I really doubt that even most of them were skeptics from the git-go. What they do generally have in common is a love of science. And hey. I donít know how many skeptics there are for each person that goes to TAM, but I know that many more donít attend for every one that does. The first TAM I attended was 4. It was the biggest ever, with 800 people in attendance. Last year there were 1600 people there. I donít think that can be chalked up to ďreporting bias.Ē I think we are growing in numbers.

Dave:
And I'm talking about a completely different method of achieving the goal. I'm talking about a world in which outreach is unnecessary because people are happier and content with reality, and so don't go looking to fill their dreary lives with magic.


Great! Iím for it!

Dave:
And I see different distinctions than those promoting Scientific Skepticism. I see science as a tool of skepticism, not the other way around. In that way, I can say that so-called "weak" atheism is a skeptical conclusion, even if it's not a scientific conclusion.

You see, the conflation of science and skepticism is what bothers me.


The problem you present is this, I think. Science is quantifiable. Even the soft sciences are becoming much more quantifiable than they used to be. So itís still science we must turn to if we want to draw conclusions with a reasonably high degree of confidence. (Just shy of a fact.) Skepticism is a part of the scientific method. Those two things canít be divorced. What you want to do is to apply skepticism to things that are less quantifiable. Thatís fine. We do it all the time by way of critical thinking and logic. We can do that without re-branding skepticism. But when we do that, we must also be aware that we canít be as confident in our conclusions as we can when the skepticismô is supporting science.

I just canít see how it will serve us to re-brand skepticism as something that will cover everything without doing harm to both the term and the brand. Right now, in the service of science, I can tell someone that they are simply wrong about the efficacy of homeopathy. I can tell them that they are wrong about the earth being only 6000 years old. I can do that with a very high degree of confidence. What happens when I use the same brand (take away scientific skepticism and just call it skepticism), and apply it to things that are less quantifiable? Will that not dilute the brand and the term?

When I come at people with skepticismô, I want them to know that the brand is rooted in science. I want them to know that Iím not just attaching my opinion to something and calling it skepticism. I want them to know that by process, as much bias as possible has been eliminated and Iím not just voicing an opinion, no matter how rationally based it is. I want them to know the difference between how Iím using the term vs. how a climate change ďskepticĒ is using it.

Skepticism alone will not cure all that ails us. We must turn to education, science, politics, philosophy, and really, everything at our disposal. Call it all skepticism and the word will lose its power which is derived from its association with science. Or am I not understanding you?

And by the way, I think weak atheism is a reasonable conclusion based on the lack of empirical evidence for any god. In so far as agnosticism is scientific, the default conclusion is weak atheism, even if it is by way of a more pedestrian use of the word ďskepticism.Ē

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2012 :  23:01:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Or am I not understanding you?
You're misunderstanding me.

"Skepticism" is an umbrella term that covers science for empirical tests and logic for assessing the validity of non-scientific propositions.

Science can tell us that the Bible is wrong when it claims that humans and other mammals were "created" at the same time. Science tells us that the Sun stopping in the sky for a day is completely implausible.

Logic can tell us that the Bible is an unreliable source of truth when it claims that God is all-loving and at the same time willing to kill off all but eight humans on the planet. Logic tells us that when the Bible claims that merely looking at the world should be enough to prove God exists, it is assuming its conclusion.

Science must remain silent on the logical problems in the Bible, since they aren't amenable to experimentation or Popperian falsifiability.

So skepticism isn't "rooted in science" alone. Pure logic plays an important role in skepticism, a role that is different from the one it plays in the scientific realm (where all propositions must be based upon empiricism).

This isn't an attempt at "rebranding" skepticism to cover every field conceivable (though most would benefit from applications of skepticism).

What I am attempting to do is show that skeptics need to become active in fields that many of them disparage (like politics) in order to affect the change that they want. Mere skepticism (of any variety) will not be enough.

In other words, I'm talking about the movement, and not about skepticism as a concept. Skepticism, properly applied, cannot be political on its own. Skepticism, after all, isn't about the formation or goals and the steps needed to reach those goals.

In still other words, any skeptics concerned with making the whole world more skeptical need to become political no matter how unscientific the political enterprise is. Those who insist that "the movement" remain unpolitical will find it impossible to move forward with any speed. Because the problems that drive people away from reality weren't created by a mere lack of Scientific Skepticism, but instead were created politically.
And by the way, I think weak atheism is a reasonable conclusion based on the lack of empirical evidence for any god.
Unfortunately, those who insist upon strict Scientific Skepticism would say that the lack of empirical evidence one way or the other means that a skeptic must withhold judgment on the question of whether God exists. As Carl Sagan famously said, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The obvious rebuttal, from a pragmatically skeptical point-of-view, is that if you base your world-view upon strict empiricism, then anything which denies empirical testing may as well not exist. If it's impossible to find evidence for or against some god or another, then he/she/it must have no effect upon reality. But that's a skeptical conclusion, and not a scientific one, and so must be rejected by the people it would most affect, the so-called Scientific Skeptics.

Dammit, it's two in the morning. I'll reply more fully tomorrow.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2012 :  00:20:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Me:
And by the way, I think weak atheism is a reasonable conclusion based on the lack of empirical evidence for any god. In so far as agnosticism is scientific, the default conclusion is weak atheism, even if it is by way of a more pedestrian use of the word ďskepticism.Ē


Unfortunately, those who insist upon strict Scientific Skepticism would say that the lack of empirical evidence one way or the other means that a skeptic must withhold judgment on the question of whether God exists. As Carl Sagan famously said, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.


I think the now bolded part of what I wrote, that you left out, is important. Many of the skeptics who insist on scientific skepticism, including me, are skeptical of the existence of God. Most of us are atheists. Clearly we haven't withheld judgment. Most of us self identify as agnostic/atheist which requires the use of two epistemologies. Scientific skepticism and logic. I'm pretty sure we come down the same way on all psi or supernatural claims. Strictly speaking, God can't be ruled out. But that does not mean that we can't come to a logical conclusion until evidence for the existence anything supernatural or psi comes along, if ever. As with all such things, we must be open enough to allow for the evidence, if it ever comes along.

Let me say it again. And this time I'll name names. Daniel Loxton is an atheist. So is Barbara Drescher. And so is James Randi and so on... So the idea that they must withhold judgment, as you have stated, is not correct. It's just not a scientifically skeptical conclusion because it can't be.


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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2012 :  08:02:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

I think the now bolded part of what I wrote, that you left out, is important. Many of the skeptics who insist on scientific skepticism, including me, are skeptical of the existence of God. Most of us are atheists. Clearly we haven't withheld judgment. Most of us self identify as agnostic/atheist which requires the use of two epistemologies. Scientific skepticism and logic. I'm pretty sure we come down the same way on all psi or supernatural claims. Strictly speaking, God can't be ruled out. But that does not mean that we can't come to a logical conclusion until evidence for the existence anything supernatural or psi comes along, if ever. As with all such things, we must be open enough to allow for the evidence, if it ever comes along.

Let me say it again. And this time I'll name names. Daniel Loxton is an atheist. So is Barbara Drescher. And so is James Randi and so on... So the idea that they must withhold judgment, as you have stated, is not correct. It's just not a scientifically skeptical conclusion because it can't be.
I even specified "weak" atheism, yet you (and Drescher) seem to only want to take on the much-less nuanced "strong" atheism when you (both) say that "it" isn't a scientifically skeptical conclusion. If you're going to talk about God being "ruled out," you're attacking a straw man.

"Weak" atheism is nothing more than "I will not give provisional belief to something for which the evidence and/or arguments are not compelling." If that isn't a properly skeptical attitude (towards everything, including "the God question"), then I don't know what is.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2012 :  09:17:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You know what's funny about that? I've never made much of a distinction between weak and strong atheism. I'm not even sure what strong atheism is? The only distinction I have made is between rational and irrational atheism. That's to say, atheism that was arrived at by way of reason and atheism as an article of faith. There was a point when all of this was being discussed, and Loxton was under some fire for his defense of scientific skepticism that he said that he's probably as much of an atheist as Richard Dawkins is. I'm assuming here that Dawkins is a strong atheist?

I'm not really sure, but I'm guessing that unlike some, I'm okay with the more pedestrian use of the term "skepticism," as long as it's understood that it's not a scientifically based conclusion. I'm willing to agree with you that many of our conclusions come out of a skeptical attitude, but they aren't particularly scientific, even if they are reason based. It's sort of like this. There is a common use for the word "theory" that everyone uses. But it's distinguishable from the way scientists use it. When scientists use the term, it's pretty close to awarding some idea as close to a fact as we get. In common usage it's more of a statement of hypothesis. It hasn't passed through the riggers of science. When those two ways of using theory get conflated, you get people like creationists saying of evolution, "it's only a theory." That's a mistake.

A skeptical attitude is fine. I like it. It's doubt that gives rise to inquiry. And scientific skepticism isn't the only method for evaluating a claim and coming to a conclusion about it. And so I am skeptical about the existence of God.

Where we get into trouble is to confuse or to conflate scientific skepticism with that more pedestrian use of the term, skeptic. The distinction is important, I think. That's why we don't like atheism and skepticism conflated. If one isn't up on this stuff, it's too easy to not get that scientific skepticism is a method, and being skeptical about something is not. Doubt is good. Doubt healthy. But doubt isn't a method. When it gets down to it, science is still the best way evaluate the evidence and come to a conclusion that is supported by evidence. And that's why some of us feel the need to protect the brand, scientific skepticism.

I see no strawman there. It's just a matter of defining our terms and making sure they are understood.

Edited to add to my first paragraph: There are both atheists and self proclaimed skeptics who wouldn't know critical thinking if it hit them in the head. And that's perhaps the main reason why all these terms need to be solidly defined.

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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2012 :  09:57:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Strong atheist: "There is no God!"
Weak atheist: "Perhaps, but God cannot be ruled out with science.."
Strong atheist: "Whatever, shut up."

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2012 :  10:17:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Is this about it?

Strong Atheism vs. Weak†Atheism
Whatís the†Difference?


If it is, than I'm both a weak atheist and a strong atheist. Mostly weak.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2012 :  12:01:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, my point is still that advocating in favor of scientific skepticism will not be enough. As much as scientific skeptics would like to remain neutral in their official organization policies, my conclusion is that they're going to need to enter politics to actually make the societal changes they want to make. If the "brand" is strictly controlled to only promote scientific skepticism, then I think the brand will fail.

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Dave W.
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Posted - 06/15/2012 :  12:24:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

I'm assuming here that Dawkins is a strong atheist?
Perhaps you remember this thread:
Dawkins' argument is that the question of god's existence doesn't belong in the latter category [permanent agnosticism], and because it is testable in principle, we can apply some probabilities and find out just how agnostic we should be. Dawkins' answer is on page 51, after listing seven categories of belief:
6. Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'

7. Strong Atheist. 'I know there is no God, with the same conviction as [C. G.] Jung "knows" there is one.'

...I count myself in category 6, but leaning twoards 7 — I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about faries at the bottom of the garden.

...

I'd be surprised to meet many people in category 7... Atheists do not have faith; and reason alone could not propel one to total conviction that anything definitely does not exist.
I forget where, exactly, but Dawkins later called himself a 6.9 on his own scale.

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
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Posted - 06/15/2012 :  13:57:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

I just had a moment of enlightenment while reading some comments over on Pharyngula.

<snip>

Now alls we needs is a plan...

I'm 100% with you on this.

I'm submitting my own country, Sweden, as a good example and a goal to strive for. Sure we have problems too, but we're one of the most secular countries in the world. I do firmly believe that social equality and social safety net and large middle-class has a lot to do with that.

How did we arrive there?
Well, it probably started during the 19th century, with various types of social movements (among the more important ones: the sobriety movement and in the 20th century: labour unions).
Note the contrast of the English wikipedia article on Social movements and the Swedish wikipedia article on the same, for a Swedish perspective. (I can't seem to hook that page automatically to Google translate so you'll have to do it manually).
Different labour unions came together to create a central organization with the purpose of politically influence the government, and started the Swedish Labour Party, these days know as the Social Democrats. The basic ideology is socialistic, democratic, with one of the most important mottos being "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". While this is typically viewed as communistic, it is also a core value for socialists.

The first labour union organised itself 1846, and the nationwide organization 1898, so the tradition of the unions in Sweden is more than 100 years. The Social Democrats have been sitting in power the majority of the time since then, working to improve conditions for the working class by implementing socialised medicine and healthcare, socialised social benefits, socialised retirement plans, public schools, public universities (government funded), unemployment benefits...

This all created a huge middle-class, which didn't have the need to run to religion to hide from the brutal reality. In Sweden, the "free church" (various protestant denominations like Pentecostal, Baptist, Mission, and a number of others) as opposed Church of Sweden was also part of the general Social movement in early 20th century. Which is a bit ironic since orginizing people was what led to the policies that gave people the security they needed to shed the shackles of religion.
The official separation of church and state in Sweden didn't happen until 2000, although most religious practices were discontinued before my lifetime.

Unfortunately, the middle-class today is forgetting its labour-class roots, and are becoming increasingly egoistical and voting more to the right in the political spectrum.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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