Belief and logic?

belieflogic

When logic gets twisted to suit one’s needs, as in making what one wants to believe seem true or an illogical choice seem rational, that’s called rationalizing. You can see some great examples of this here in a comically titled piece, ‘Atheism Logical?’ It’s full of what I guess passes for logic when you need to create some self-satisfying reasons for not just justifying your indulgence in religious belief but also to put down atheists who don’t fancy such an indulgence. Below are some really embarrassingly silly arguments from that piece which I just want to quickly address…

“Before we edited God out of the schools…”

Without explaining how removing violations to the Establishment Clause is responsible for the social ills you describe, one could pick anything from around that time and say they are responsible. For instance you could say “before we went to the moon…” or “before the civil rights movement” or better yet, “before we forced god into our Pledge and onto our currency…”

“When it comes to science, the evidence is that creation was created.”

Actually no, there’s no scientific evidence for the universe being a “creation” nor for any creator, and Einstein himself could have said the universe looks like a creation but that wouldn’t make it so.

“The truth is that if people really want to do something, they find a way to justify it.”

And one of the greatest ways to justify something is to use the Christian bible. It’s been used to justify wars, enslaving people, denying equal rights, and a host of other infamous things.

“missionaries risked their lives to tell the various tribes about God”

There was a story I remember from school about British missionaries in the South American rainforest appalled by the lack of clothing the indigenous people had. They told them that was immoral and not what god wants and got them all nice, hand knitted sweater. The tribe liked them so much they wore them all the time. They naturally got soaked from the rain, and wearing soaking wet sweaters all the time made them all come down with pneumonia. Praise god!

You might also like this book, ‘Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes’

“The problem is that without God, morals are always subject to change”

As they are with religious belief as well, as shown above in the various atrocities which used to be justified by invoking your god (and sadly some still are).

“The problem with atheist morality is that it tries to use values from the Bible and yet remove the power of God from the equation.”

And the problem with Christian morality is it tries to use pre-existing moral values but then taints and perverts them like how it ruined the Golden Rule, removing empathy from the equation. Furthermore, it doesn’t actually teach an understanding of why something is moral or not, but merely attempts to train people as you would a dog by directing a series of desired actions followed by a promise of a reward for doing them and a punishment for not doing them (ie – the power of God). How about the power of understanding? The power of empathy? I think in there lies true power.

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18 Responses to “Belief and logic?”

  1. For those frustrated by the comments running to the sides and having your blockquotes engulfed in flames, fret no longer. I finally got a response from Intense Debate and they provided the necessary code to fix that crap and no, I couldn't have have come up with it on my own because it involves invoking specific ID names which I couldn't have known without some kind of psychic powers which sadly I don't possess.

    For anyone curious, they are:
    #idc-container-parent
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    Coding is like cleaning, I love when it's done right and love experiencing the benefits of having it done, but I'd much rather someone else do it. :)

  2. The self-appointed arbiter of logic and reason said,

    ..one of the greatest ways to justify something is to use the Christian bible. It’s been used to justify wars, enslaving people, denying equal rights, and a host of other infamous things.

    So what? One of the greatest ways to justify "something" is also evolution, which has been used to justify "a host of other infamous things." You're not saying anything new or useful here. Developing the ability to objectively flip your own arguments on yourself would only strengthen them.

    PS – glad to see you fixed your CSS issues.

  3. Philly, I hypothesize that empathy is a biological/genetic trait having to do with the structure of the emotional region of the brain, that people have varying levels of empathy just like they have varying levels of weight or height or skin coloration. If empathy is an advantage, thereby, then the people who have a lot of it will evolve successful positions in society while the people who don't have it will become bottom feeders. I don't fully see that happening though, perhaps there's another variable that has to do with a combination of intelligence and empathy.

    Low intelligence + high empathy, perhaps the person becomes a religious leader, while high intelligence + low empathy perhaps makes for a good CEO (the exact thing that the religious hate). High intelligence + high empathy, perhaps a successful entreprenuer while medium empathy + high intelligence makes an engineer….perhaps.

  4. When it comes to nature/nurture questions, I tend to go with Gump and think maybe it's both. :)

    I wouldn't say lack of empathy = bottom feeder. I think history is full of people who were successful, yet assholes. In some ways they may have become successful because they were assholes, just as being too empathetic can make you a doormat. It's a two way street, remember.

    To further muddy the waters, empathy need not be used for the good of others. You could use it to exploit others as well, as every salesman and politician knows. Hell, Sun Tzu taught as much centuries ago.

  5. …empathy need not be used for the good of others. You could use it to exploit others as well, as every salesman and politician knows.

    Good point. We often think and talk about empathy as a positive attribute, but it is easily misused or abused.

  6. …empathy need not be used for the good of others. You could use it to exploit others as well, as every salesman and politician knows.

    Good point. We often think and talk about empathy as a positive attribute, but it is easily used for selfish rather than altruistic ends. <div style="margin: 6px 0pt 0pt; display: block;"><a class="a2a_dd" href="http://www.addtoany.com/share_save"><img src="http://static.addtoany.com/buttons/share_save_171_16.png&quot; alt="Share/Save/Bookmark" border="0" width="171" height="16">

  7. …empathy need not be used for the good of others. You could use it to exploit others as well, as every salesman and politician knows.

    Good point. We often think and talk about empathy as a positive attribute, but it is easily used for selfish rather than altruistic ends.

  8. Altruism only really works when pride and recognition is reward enough. I'm not saying that some kind of direct or indirect monetary or material reward is out of the question for altruism, but simply that it's not a requirement. I think that selfishness, therefore, need not necessarily be anti-altruistic.

  9. Actually, altruism is a myth. Everything you do is ultimately selfish. Even performing a good act where no one will know you did it is selfish because you'll take pleasure from it somehow.

    When we celebrate so-called "selfless acts", what we're really celebrating is what appears to be overwhelmingly generous deals. Of course with valuations being relative, it might well be the case that the givers may have gained more from the gifts than the recipients, at least in the giver's minds.

  10. Religion takes advantage of altruism by offering fake or insincere rewards and false security for people's actions. Some particularly gullable people will actually be happy with a mere "good doggy" from their religious peers.

  11. Actually, altruism is a myth. Everything you do is ultimately selfish.

    You may be right about that. Acts that appear to be altruistic often may be simply proffered in the hopes of establishing a relationship of reciprocity. In those cases, then the acts have at least partially selfish motivations.

    Perhaps OT, but the thought just occurred to me: was Jesus' sacrificial death an act of altruism or a proffer of reciprocity? It's typically presented as altruism – "He loved you so much…." But, the only way one benefits from it is to profess acceptance of its efficacy. Is that expectation of acceptance a sort of reciprocity demand – "yeah, I'll give you my life, but I expect you to give me yours, too?"

  12. I'm not sure why so many Americans can even believe in a god that has complete disregard for the 8th Amendment, whom threatens to torture people with a fiery eternity of evil torment. Anyhow, to answer your question, I'm not even sure why an all powerful being would arrange to have itself killed or why people could ever actually believe such a tall-tale. This is all very nonsensical to me.

  13. I know a guy like that. He's generally a pain in the ass and he always reminds you of something great he did for you at one time or another in the past, usually right after he's done something really annoying.

    Also, it's not really a gift if you're expecting something back in exchange.

  14. Also, it's not really a gift if you're expecting something back in exchange.

    I agree. It seems so clear to me – now. The thing is, this always bothered me to some degree when I was a Christian. Nevertheless, it took me a long time to recognize it and admit what it implied about God's "love." I'm not sure how much of that was due to indoctrination, fear (went hand in hand with the vile doctrines, of course), stubborn unwillingness to admit that I'd been duped, or what.

  15. It's not really a gift if you're expecting something of equal or greater value back in exchange. If you're expecting something of lesser value in exchange, then perhaps it is a gift?

  16. That would probably have to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Furthermore, value judgments are subjective. Say I'm in need of company at the bar but you're broke, so I offer to buy all your drinks for the evening. At first that looks like a pretty generous gift, but maybe I'm a lonely guy who feels that's a small price to pay for a drinking buddy for the night.

    And before you ask, no, I'm quite content to drink alone, so buy your own drinks or piss off.

  17. I think the his point is that religious people give these ancient texts MUCH more prominence than they deserve. They're just texts! They're certainly not history. But some people take every command seriously, even though the moral bar has been raised in modern times, and civilized people don't own slaves or kill their child for disrespecting them.

  18. Most of the people have gotten believed on the logic. They are all dependent on the logic as well. Therefore the logistic talking has to much meaningful and highly forms for everyone.

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