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Robb
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2007 :  13:33:10  Show Profile Send Robb a Private Message  Reply with Quote
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1686828,00.html?cnn=yes

Others say the weekly instruction supports their position that it's O.K. to not believe in God and gives them a place to reinforce the morals and values they want their children to have.


He tried to get them to see that people who are coerced into renouncing their beliefs might not actually change their minds but could be acting out of self-preservation--an important lesson for young atheists who may feel pressure to say they believe in God.


The funny thing is that atheist tout that they want people to make an informed decision on their own after presented with the facts, except for when it comes to religion, these atheists will not let their children make their own decision.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2007 :  14:35:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote

The funny thing is that atheist tout that they want people to make an informed decision on their own after presented with the facts, except for when it comes to religion, these atheists will not let their children make their own decision.


The best way for them to make an informed decision, in my view, is to teach them not to fall for crap like belief in the supernatural. My guess is that that's not what they're teaching them in these Sunday schools. If that's not what they're teaching them, then I'd agree that what they're doing is not a good idea.

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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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2007 :  15:08:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Robb

The funny thing is that atheist tout that they want people to make an informed decision on their own after presented with the facts, except for when it comes to religion, these atheists will not let their children make their own decision.
Yeah, that's exactly why they're being taught to avoid coercion, and are being taught about world religions.

Good grief, Robb. What else do you expect parents to do than try to teach their kids the morals and values that are important to the parents? Children generally are not able to make informed decisions, because they're not informed. A ten-year-old generally won't comprehend the difference between the Sikhs and Jains well enough to properly choose a religion for herself.

Besides, while few atheists parents want their kids to become religious, a decent atheist parent certainly isn't going to punish or berate a child for having made such a choice. Only freakishly totalitarian parents think they can truly control their childrens' thoughts. "...these atheists will not let their children make their own decision" makes those parents out to be monsters.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1884 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2007 :  19:08:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Robb

The funny thing is that atheist tout that they want people to make an informed decision on their own after presented with the facts, except for when it comes to religion, these atheists will not let their children make their own decision.
According to the article the parents are enabling their children to make decisions. Informed decisions using critical thinking and rational discussions. Skills that will clearly benefit them well into their adult lives.

Probably not as effective as "Jesus Loves You" or the "Fear of eternal damnation" are in Christian Sunday school, though. But I guess informed decisions are not as important as right decisions.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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Robb
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  08:05:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Robb a Private Message  Reply with Quote
According to the article the parents are enabling their children to make decisions. Informed decisions using critical thinking and rational discussions. Skills that will clearly benefit them well into their adult lives.
I agree, but are they also teaching that critical thinking will give them all the answers they need?

Probably not as effective as "Jesus Loves You" or the "Fear of eternal damnation" are in Christian Sunday school, though. But I guess informed decisions are not as important as right decisions.

Couldn't help yourself could you.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1884 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  10:52:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Robb

According to the article the parents are enabling their children to make decisions. Informed decisions using critical thinking and rational discussions. Skills that will clearly benefit them well into their adult lives.
I agree, but are they also teaching that critical thinking will give them all the answers they need?
emphasis added
They are making decisions based upon the critical analysis of the available data. Will they make mistakes? Sure, we all do. But will they be equiped to deal with these mistakes and learn from them? Absolutely.

Originally posted by Robb

Probably not as effective as "Jesus Loves You" or the "Fear of eternal damnation" are in Christian Sunday school, though. But I guess informed decisions are not as important as right decisions.

Couldn't help yourself could you.
It appears that I am justified raising this criticism considering the fact that you believe there are "answers that they need". btw. Just what are those answers?

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  13:21:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave said:
Yeah, that's exactly why they're being taught to avoid coercion, and are being taught about world religions.
And the fundamentalists' kids are being taught to avoid the persuasion of reason and logic, and to deny that there is any other "true" religion other than that of their parents. And in the madrassas of the Middle East, kids are memorizing the Quran syllable by syllable, to what end only Allah knows!

But any child, of "Sunday School" age is very likely going to end up deeply indoctrinated with what they are consistently taught before the age of reason - which can be anywhere from 4-5 to the late teens. And because the human mind typically does a mediocre job of separating emotional fantasy from rational fact, some very bright and intellectually capable people end up in their adulthood with preposterous religious convictions. All of us know examples, the foremost being Albert Einstein, who certainly toyed with the idea of God throughout most of his life. William Buckley - an intellectual by practically any definition, but also a devout Catholic! (and well-spoken, totally wrong conservative). There are countless other examples!

So how explain these apparent anomalies? The scientist, the thinker, the educated, informed, accomplished intellectual who remains burdened with the albatross of religious belief, inevitably leading to contradiction with reality in many areas of endeavor?

Until there is well-nigh complete, total agreement among the civilized and educated of the world as to the fact that religion is superstition, there will remain those of power, accomplishment, influence and ability that still carry religious baggage. Largely because of what they were taught as young children. And until that enlightened time when the concept of "God" firmly lies in the same trash-heap of discarded delusion as the flat-earth and the geocentric Universe, children will grow up carrying the religious beliefs of their parents or of those that taught them at an early age!
Good grief, Robb. What else do you expect parents to do than try to teach their kids the morals and values that are important to the parents? Children generally are not able to make informed decisions, because they're not informed. A ten-year-old generally won't comprehend the difference between the Sikhs and Jains well enough to properly choose a religion for herself.
It seems, then, that the sins of the father's are forever to be visited upon their progeny, unless the primary schools undertake a real effort to present secularism to pre-ten year olds, and disabuse them of the religious bias they are subjected to in their homes.

Bur Mom and Pop; being stupid, but not all that stupid, won't send their kids to a school or Sunday School that doesn't reflect their own values. Catch-22?

It bothers me a lot, because every time I encounter an otherwise rational individual capable of expressing sensible thought about any subject; and then discover that he/she does, in fact, have a theistic conviction of some sort, I find myself rapidly reassessing their intellectual depth!

I mean, these adult folks have to be at least ignorant, if not downright stupid, if they can't or won't dismiss the misinformation they were taught as children.
Besides, while few atheists parents want their kids to become religious, a decent atheist parent certainly isn't going to punish or berate a child for having made such a choice. Only freakishly totalitarian parents think they can truly control their childrens' thoughts. "...these atheists will not let their children make their own decision" makes those parents out to be monsters.
Yes, no one, parent or otherwise, can control another's behavior or thoughts! I can only speak from my own experience. I was raised without religious influence of any sort from my parents or siblings. Consequently, I attempted to raise my own two kids the same way.

My wife had a somewhat (weak Lutheran) religious childhood, but little conviction carrying into adulthood. We both tried very hard to expose our two kids to a variety of religious experience as they became interested in the subject. We encouraged them (from about 6-7 up) to participate with various friends religious holiday observations, etc. They went into college "freethinkers". Both are significantly atheistic today.

My wife and I maintain a Huxleyian agnosticism, simply because we have yet to encounter an atheistic argument powerful enough to convince us that absolutes exist. But we're the lucky ones. No religious fundamentals pounded into any of us when we were too young to reject anything of apparent authority! Many others, sadly, seem to be unable to leave their childhood and become adults!

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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  13:28:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Until there is well-nigh complete, total agreement among the civilized and educated of the world as to the fact that religion is superstition, there will remain those of power, accomplishment, influence and ability that still carry religious baggage.


I think I will be forced to tattoo 666 on my forehead, before any total agreement ever arrives.

"...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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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  14:01:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

It bothers me a lot, because every time I encounter an otherwise rational individual capable of expressing sensible thought about any subject; and then discover that he/she does, in fact, have a theistic conviction of some sort, I find myself rapidly reassessing their intellectual depth!
It bothers me that you have such a problem, as well. It certainly isn't stupidity or a lack of "intellectual depth" you're encountering. Most people, I think, simply have better things to do with their time than to spend it trying to shake off the mental shackles placed there by society as a whole (and their parents, victims to same). It's damn uncomfortable, and has all sorts of social repurcussions, to boot.

Plus, I'm sure that in your time, you've been at the receiving end of plenty of humbling situations in which you weren't as smart as you could have (or should have) been. You might use those experiences to try to identify with these people you meet, rather than look down on them. As Merlin once said, "there's always someone better than yourself."

I mean, you're not talking about Dembski here, and those like him who not only put their mental shortcomings up on a pedestal, but actually try to make a buck by promoting them. I am quite in favor of their further and public villification.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Why not question something for a change?
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  17:14:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Robb.....

Good one. I am a christian and I want to kill children all around the world. The less children the better. I hate children and god hates children. Kill them all! Jesus says War is Good!

I have occasionally used sarcasm as a discursive technique in these forums, but I don't see the segue' out of your above statement! Surely you don't intend us to take what you say here literally!

Robb, children are a good thing! Many of them grow into adults. Although, as I understand it from Authority, all are contaminated from birth (or perhaps conception) with Original Sin; some, as they become adults, are wise enough to listen to those who purvey the Wisdom of the Scriptures, and eschew that Sin, receive Christ, and when Taken enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Others accumulate ever more Sin in their passage through life and, never Redeemed, descend to Hell at their Passing. This is God's Will, I am told.

All well and good, except if we kill all the children, in a relatively short time there will be no product available for processing through the gates of Heaven or into the angry maw of Hell! Shortly, it will be the same old souls ecstacizing or suffering endlessly! Static inventory top and bottom! And obviously no one left on Earth at all. Although eternal, things just won't be the same in Heaven and Hell!

And God can't be pleased with a prospect like this - eternal stagnation, no more dispelling of the boredom of the task of Almighty Administration with thousands of new Souls coming in daily to either torment or make unbearably happy - everything would just be so mundane! For God, and Jay, and all the angels, and even good ole Jerry Falwell who hasn't yet gotten used to the asexuality of the place!

Please reassess your evaluation of the worth of children to Christianity!
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Robb
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  19:39:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Robb a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Dave said:
Yeah, that's exactly why they're being taught to avoid coercion, and are being taught about world religions.
And the fundamentalists' kids are being taught to avoid the persuasion of reason and logic, and to deny that there is any other "true" religion other than that of their parents. And in the madrassas of the Middle East, kids are memorizing the Quran syllable by syllable, to what end only Allah knows!

But any child, of "Sunday School" age is very likely going to end up deeply indoctrinated with what they are consistently taught before the age of reason - which can be anywhere from 4-5 to the late teens. And because the human mind typically does a mediocre job of separating emotional fantasy from rational fact, some very bright and intellectually capable people end up in their adulthood with preposterous religious convictions. All of us know examples, the foremost being Albert Einstein, who certainly toyed with the idea of God throughout most of his life. William Buckley - an intellectual by practically any definition, but also a devout Catholic! (and well-spoken, totally wrong conservative). There are countless other examples!

So how explain these apparent anomalies? The scientist, the thinker, the educated, informed, accomplished intellectual who remains burdened with the albatross of religious belief, inevitably leading to contradiction with reality in many areas of endeavor?

Until there is well-nigh complete, total agreement among the civilized and educated of the world as to the fact that religion is superstition, there will remain those of power, accomplishment, influence and ability that still carry religious baggage. Largely because of what they were taught as young children. And until that enlightened time when the concept of "God" firmly lies in the same trash-heap of discarded delusion as the flat-earth and the geocentric Universe, children will grow up carrying the religious beliefs of their parents or of those that taught them at an early age!
Good grief, Robb. What else do you expect parents to do than try to teach their kids the morals and values that are important to the parents? Children generally are not able to make informed decisions, because they're not informed. A ten-year-old generally won't comprehend the difference between the Sikhs and Jains well enough to properly choose a religion for herself.
It seems, then, that the sins of the father's are forever to be visited upon their progeny, unless the primary schools undertake a real effort to present secularism to pre-ten year olds, and disabuse them of the religious bias they are subjected to in their homes.

Bur Mom and Pop; being stupid, but not all that stupid, won't send their kids to a school or Sunday School that doesn't reflect their own values. Catch-22?

It bothers me a lot, because every time I encounter an otherwise rational individual capable of expressing sensible thought about any subject; and then discover that he/she does, in fact, have a theistic conviction of some sort, I find myself rapidly reassessing their intellectual depth!

I mean, these adult folks have to be at least ignorant, if not downright stupid, if they can't or won't dismiss the misinformation they were taught as children.
Besides, while few atheists parents want their kids to become religious, a decent atheist parent certainly isn't going to punish or berate a child for having made such a choice. Only freakishly totalitarian parents think they can truly control their childrens' thoughts. "...these atheists will not let their children make their own decision" makes those parents out to be monsters.
Yes, no one, parent or otherwise, can control another's behavior or thoughts! I can only speak from my own experience. I was raised without religious influence of any sort from my parents or siblings. Consequently, I attempted to raise my own two kids the same way.

My wife had a somewhat (weak Lutheran) religious childhood, but little conviction carrying into adulthood. We both tried very hard to expose our two kids to a variety of religious experience as they became interested in the subject. We encouraged them (from about 6-7 up) to participate with various friends religious holiday observations, etc. They went into college "freethinkers". Both are significantly atheistic today.

My wife and I maintain a Huxleyian agnosticism, simply because we have yet to encounter an atheistic argument powerful enough to convince us that absolutes exist. But we're the lucky ones. No religious fundamentals pounded into any of us when we were too young to reject anything of apparent authority! Many others, sadly, seem to be unable to leave their childhood and become adults!


If there is no God then why does any of this matter? My indoctrinated children will die in 70-80 years which is but a moment since time began. Also one day everything will be gone. So what does it matter if a child does not grow up to be the intelectual they were supposed to be?

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  20:08:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave expresses personal concern:

It bothers me that you have such a problem, as well. It certainly isn't stupidity or a lack of "intellectual depth" you're encountering.
Well, I may be encountering black holes of comprehension, but it certainly isn't a Mensa mentality that continues to accept sheer superstition taught as Gospel along with Dr. Seuss or Harry Potter! I certainly haven't noticed you extending high levels of respect to the occasional fundamentalists that wander into these parts. Is it your belief, Dave, that devout Christians are "critical thinkers" in matters religious? Further, in matters of the paranormal, supernatural, or preternatural? If that is the case, I will certainly be considerably more bothered that it is your job to herd the cats comprising the core of the corresponding and posting members of this forum!
Most people, I think, simply have better things to do with their time than to spend it trying to shake off the mental shackles placed there by society as a whole (and their parents, victims to same).It's damn uncomfortable, and has all sorts of social repurcussions, to boot.
I think these 'most people' would be damn well advised to consider what else in their intellectual warehouse is shackled by the same stupidities! Yours is to say that they have better things to do than think about that which is uncomfortable! Balderdash! I would certainly hope that anyone who considers themself a thinking person, much less a Critical Thinking person would not be afraid to think about that which is personally or socially uncomfortable!
Plus, I'm sure that in your time, you've been at the receiving end of plenty of humbling situations in which you weren't as smart as you could have (or should have) been. You might use those experiences to try to identify with these people you meet, rather than look down on them. As Merlin once said, "there's always someone better than yourself."
Far more than most participants in this forum, I would wager, simply because I have had spent many more years at challenging public or private ignorance! In the many instances that that has happened, I have tried to the best of my ability to get smarter! And I have never once felt that I needed to identify with or to emulate stupidity or ignorance. I hope that I never do in the years that I have left! As to Merlin, his reasoning leads directly to God, and my map doesn't have that road on it! I would as soon defend Zeno's paradox!

I think Dude and I see pretty much eye to eye on this matter! I respect his opinions on stupid people attempting to present themselves as smart!

OK, Dave is this the hot button you were looking for? If so, glad to oblige!
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  20:58:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Robb

If there is no God then why does any of this matter? My indoctrinated children will die in 70-80 years which is but a moment since time began. Also one day everything will be gone. So what does it matter if a child does not grow up to be the intelectual they were supposed to be?
If there is a God, why would any of it matter?

I'll give you one reason: if God gave you a brain, don't you think you should use it? The parable of the talents comes to mind, obviously.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2007 :  23:27:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

OK, Dave is this the hot button you were looking for? If so, glad to oblige!
Wow! How very intense. Is it sincere, or more acting for fun (or in search of clues to perception)? Hard to tell. Hard to perceive.

But let me reply in full:
Well, I may be encountering black holes of comprehension, but it certainly isn't a Mensa mentality that continues to accept sheer superstition taught as Gospel along with Dr. Seuss or Harry Potter!
In the US, in 1996 fewer than 20% of Mensans identified as atheist, agnostic or claimed no religion. (Lest you think that's a fluke, Mensa Canada in 1990 wasn't much less superstitious. I also found a PhDed homeopath who proudly proclaims his Mensa membership along with lots of all-caps nonsense about homeopathy.)

Intelligence has never correlated well with irreligiousity. Education, however, does. And that only makes sense. My own Mensa-level IQ was first measured when I was seven years old, but I didn't know to apply it to the "big questions" until much, much later. Intelligence doesn't imply wisdom.
I certainly haven't noticed you extending high levels of respect to the occasional fundamentalists that wander into these parts.
Most of the fundamentalists who've "wandered" into these forums since you've been here have actually been coming here for years. I know for a fact that they're mostly not stupid. Those who get my respect are those who fail to parrot discredited 30-year-old anti-science arguments, even if I disagree with them.
Is it your belief, Dave, that devout Christians are "critical thinkers" in matters religious? Further, in matters of the paranormal, supernatural, or preternatural?
As I said, wisdom does not correlate with intelligence. Critical thought requires wisdom, not IQ. As such, your questions are irrelevant to the point being made.
If that is the case, I will certainly be considerably more bothered that it is your job to herd the cats comprising the core of the corresponding and posting members of this forum!
I wouldn't even try to herd these cats.
I think these 'most people' would be damn well advised to consider what else in their intellectual warehouse is shackled by the same stupidities! Yours is to say that they have better things to do than think about that which is uncomfortable! Balderdash! I would certainly hope that anyone who considers themself a thinking person, much less a Critical Thinking person would not be afraid to think about that which is personally or socially uncomfortable!
And now the goalposts begin to move. At first it was "an otherwise rational individual capable of expressing sensible thought about any subject," and now when your view is challenged, it becomes a person who considers him/herself a thinking or critically thinking person. Of course I would find it foolish for anyone claiming to be a critical thinker to avoid a subject just because it's disturbing, but that didn't seem to be the sort of person you were talking about before. Did you switch in order to become more outraged?
Far more than most participants in this forum, I would wager, simply because I have had spent many more years at challenging public or private ignorance! In the many instances that that has happened, I have tried to the best of my ability to get smarter! And I have never once felt that I needed to identify with or to emulate stupidity or ignorance. I hope that I never do in the years that I have left!
Your exclamation-pointed pride in your lack of sympathy for their plight is noted.
As to Merlin, his reasoning leads directly to God...
Huh. The way I remember the story, Merlin is talking about a fish that got away, trying to teach Arthur that it's impossible to be the best in all things. God seems utterly irrelevant to that point.
I think Dude and I see pretty much eye to eye on this matter! I respect his opinions on stupid people attempting to present themselves as smart!
Is it now your contention that this hypothetical "otherwise rational individual capable of expressing sensible thought about any subject" who expresses some religious belief is actually nothing more than a stupid person with pretentions to intelligence? If so, you are far worse off than I'd imagined possible.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Why not question something for a change?
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2007 :  20:17:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If there is no God then why does any of this matter? My indoctrinated children will die in 70-80 years which is but a moment since time began. Also one day everything will be gone. So what does it matter if a child does not grow up to be the intelectual they were supposed to be?


Religious debate tactic #133: When all else fails, state that the atheist shouldn't care because to him, existence is meaningless.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Edited by - Ricky on 12/01/2007 20:18:09
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2007 :  02:46:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave observes:
Wow! How very intense. Is it sincere, or more acting for fun (or in search of clues to perception)? Hard to tell. Hard to perceive.
Sincere? I sincerely perceived an attempt on your part to provoke a reaction, so I complied with your request. And you did provide clues, right on cue!
In the US, in 1996 fewer than 20% of Mensans identified as atheist, agnostic or claimed no religion. (Lest you think that's a fluke, Mensa Canada in 1990 wasn't much less superstitious.
No fluke, just a sample that is totally invalid in both size and randomness to be of any value. Mensans are a tiny and very specific part of the the universe of high-intelligence humans.

I was using the word 'Mensa' as a handy alliterative companion to the word 'mentality' and intended it as simile. However, if you require literal transcription, I will change
"it certainly isn't a Mensa mentality that...."
to
"it typically isn't a person of high intelligence that...."
I hope that is more pleasing to those who would be Mensa analysts.

I also found a PhDed homeopath who proudly proclaims his Mensa membership along with lots of all-caps nonsense about homeopathy.)
So? I'm sure you or I could find no end of imbecile-savants who claim membership in various smart clubs. Again, individuals do not prove a population!
Intelligence has never correlated well with irreligiousity.
Well, Dave, I would like a lot more evidence on that lack of correlation. For example in the ineffable (and controversial) Wiki we find:
In 1986, the Council for Secular Humanism's Free Inquiry magazine summarized studies on religiosity and intelligence.[9] In it Burnham Beckwith summarized 43 studies on religiosity and its relation with attributes that he considered were positively linked with intelligence: IQ, SAT scores, academic ability and other measures of overall "success". Although conceding that it was easy to find fault with the studies he reviewed, "for all were imperfect," he contended that the studies he examined, taken together, provided strong evidence for an inverse correlation between intelligence and religious faith in the United States.
Again, the sample size is absurd, and the study can only be taken as indicative, if that.

I am not aware of any statistically sound investigations extant (at least any from the very important last 30 years) demonstrating a correlation, or lack thereof, between intelligence and religious conviction. Ever since Alfred Benet began investigation into the measurement of intelligence in the late 1800's, intelligence testing and definition have been highly controversial among mathematicians as well as social scientists. And the fact that a respondent might reply that he "was a Christian" does not begin to examine the conviction of his beliefs. My view that intelligent people should not be religious is intuitive, and I'm afraid it's going to have to remain intuitive until some major research facility sees fit to properly study the subject.
My own Mensa-level IQ was first measured when I was seven years old, but I didn't know to apply it to the "big questions" until much, much later. Intelligence doesn't imply wisdom.
At this point, I would like to challenge your Mensa level IQ to provide a definitive description of "wisdom", followed by a methodology to qualify and then quantify it. Once done, commission a competent study group to generate appropiate statistics. Then we could begin to intelligently examine correlations, rather than simply speculating.
Most of the fundamentalists who've "wandered" into these forums since you've been here have actually been coming here for years. I know for a fact that they're mostly not stupid. Those who get my respect are those who fail to parrot discredited 30-year-old anti-science arguments, even if I disagree with them.
Get your respect for what? Being dumb enough to try and argue fundamentalist views with a group of Mensa-level, well educated, well-spoken anti-theists? Yes, those would get my respect for cojones diameter!
As I said, wisdom does not correlate with intelligence. Critical thought requires wisdom, not IQ. As such, your questions are irrelevant to the point being made.
Despite omniscient declarations to the contrary, until the elusive entity labeled wisdom is successfully quantified, correlation with anything will be largely subjective. This wiki is about as good as the other one, which I read in its entirety, coming to the conclusion that these wise books leave understanding of this subject to lie in the mind's eye of the seeker. I would imagine that a thorough reading of all the wiki references on "wisdom" would begin to provide a frame of reference as to how to properly use the word. And if you don't want to answer my questions, just say so! Invoking irrelevance" is simply a dodge.
And now the goalposts begin to move. At first it was "an otherwise rational individual capable of expressing sensible thought about any subject," and now when your view is challenged, it becomes a person who considers him/herself a thinking or critically thinking person. Of course I would find it foolish for anyone claiming to be a critical thinker to avoid a subject just because it's disturbing, but that didn't seem to be the sort of person you were talking about before. Did you switch in order to become more outraged?
The goalposts are quite secure, although your view of them is a little bleary. Are you trying to say that The "rational person" I first alluded to is not of the same cat herd as the self-claiming "critical thinker" of my second reference? And which of these poor felines would you direct your approbation toward? The second, but not the first? Why would that be? The second one is, in fact, a perfect copycat of the first! The fact I used different descriptive terms does not affect the location of the end zones, the fifty yard line, or the goalposts! Am I to understand that as long as person does not convey unto himself the title "critical thinker", he is to be excused for his acceptance of religious nonsense? Really!
Your exclamation-pointed pride in your lack of sympathy for their plight is noted.
It is good that you noted it. It means that you are listening!
Huh. The way I remember the story, Merlin is talking about a fish that got away, trying to teach Arthur that it's impossible to be the best in all things. God seems utterly irrelevant to that point.
As Merlin once said, "there's always someone better than yourself."
Perhaps this is where you became confused about the movement of the goalposts. Do the two boldings above have the same meaning? It seems to me that Tiger Woods is probably a poor neurosurgeon, but he may well be the best golfer alive!

As originally worded, "there's always someone better than yourself", the statement is patently false as applied to the current (or all-time) proven best in any endeavor. It is also logically false, because if it was impossible to achieve top rank in any type of achievement, there would be no top rank and the entire concept of competitive comparison would fail! As Zeno could never reach his goal!

Your statement becomes true, however, for the Theist; as God is better than any one, indeed better than anything that is appropiate for a value ranking. And God would of course have to be better than the best of any human, who was better than you as third, fourth, or xth next best.

The completely different second statement, "It's impossible to be best in all things", is, obviously, true. It in no way conveys the same meaning as the first, however.
Is it now your contention that this hypothetical "otherwise rational individual capable of expressing sensible thought about any subject" who expresses some religious belief is actually nothing more than a stupid person with pretentions to intelligence? If so, you are far worse off than I'd imagined possible
Well, that is an interesting conflation of my two expressions. Your use of selective generalization is cunning, at least - "stupid person" does indeed convey a person stupid in all things, unless read in the context of an otherwise rational person stupidly defending the indefensible. "With pretensions to intelligence" or "attempting to present themselves as smart" would appear defamatory out of the context of a self-proclaimed "critical thinker" representing the dogma of Catholicism as intellectually viable.

An example might be:

"The eminently sensible and rational Bishop Fulton J. Sheen could weave a engaging and apparently irresistable persuasion to the Faith, and burnish his image as a brilliant thinker; until his imperious presentation of Catholic dogma clearly showed his pretensions to intelligence to be false, and insulting to those capable of discerning real intellect. This public icon was stupid to offend the reasoning sensibilities of people who might otherwise have accepted much of his message. Consequently, most of his life, he was preaching to the choir."

From Perception, Illustrated
(Provisional Title)

Thankfully, it turns out that I am just slightly worse off than you had imagined possible. As always, you need to hone your imagination!


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