Mocking religion

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shpalman
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:49 am

warumich wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:41 am
My point is that when we in our threads talk about religion vs science, there is a phenomenal variety of religion and spiritual thought (whatever that is) that gets bracketed out, forgotten, or labelled as not proper religion. Then if we have an issue with Protestantism (or Catholicism), this gets rather unfairly widened to religion as a whole (this is not to say that there are no problems in, say, Shintoism, but these would probably be of a different nature). But the variety of religious belief also exists within Western Christian churches, and our "protestant" frame then gets put to work to shoehorn everyone who identifies with Protestantism into a series of propositions and behaviours we feel they must satisfy. And of course, the churches, insofar as they are political and social institutions, do that to themselves as well.
So the fact that the church took so long to acknowledge Galileo was of course unfortunate, but not by itself an indication that every catholic agreed with that. That doesn't make them any less religious. I would take a similar attitude to Darwin - he appears to have had a fairly clearly and delimited idea of religion, based on the 19th c idea of a religion as a doctrinal institution. And so do the young Earth creationists.
warumich wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:36 am
... Actually it does seem to me that a lot of the dislike for religion here is actually a dislike for religious institutions. I don't have much beef with that. But keep in mind that institutions are political entities that have their own logic that may very much differ from the philosophical or religious beliefs they claim to represent.
Well, if I complain about an official position of (one of the Western) christian church(es) you can always say that it's "not by itself an indication that every [self-identified member of that church or faith or denomination] agreed with that" and while it's true that a lot of people might call themselves believers, they pick and choose which bits they actually believe or follow. This is good in the sense that they realize they need less and less of it.

But what if I complain about the beliefs or belief-motivated actions of a [self-identified member of a church or faith or denomination]? Is that just their own personal or political ignorance/prejudice and nothing to do with the echo-chamber they're in?

I've seen various responses to Darwinian Natural Selection from various kinds of christians (who in this context often seem to refer to god as "the Creator"). There are those who avoid the cognitive dissonance by not thinking about it very hard, implicitly accepting the science but still feeling like there's god there somewhere. There are those who see evolution as having been somehow "directed" because of course you can't have something complicated without it having been created by something even more complicated so the solution to this is to create out of nothing something maximally complicated which then created everything else. There are those who take Genesis chapter 1 as true but consider yom to not mean a literal 24-hour* day but rather some long period of time. And then there are those who take it literally, that the universe was created in a week just a few thousand years ago, and that fossils happened during the Noah flood. They're all wrong of course, to increasing degrees**. The correct approach to Genesis is to understand it as (pre-?)historical literature and analyse what it tells us about the bronze-age tribes who handed it down as part of their oral creation mythology.

(* - days actually used to be shorter)

(** - we could also debate the question of how any of these particularly beliefs lead to damaging consequences, but I hope nobody thinks it's a good idea to teach these myths to children as if they were true)
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Martin Y » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:59 am

This has become a fascinating thread and I want to add my thanks. But swerving off topic just for a moment I have to wonder:
Fishnut wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:14 pm
... For context, the two other talks in the session are A Service Dog in the Field: Accommodating Disabled Archaeologists and Nontraditional Medical Equipment and Ethics of Repatriation > Culture of Academic Freedom.
What is "nontraditional medical equipment"?

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:05 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:03 am
warumich wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:36 am
Heresy laws are measures of social control and as such a political phenomenon pretty much divorced from religion as such. You can demonstrate that you don't need religion for heresy laws by trying to point out that Churchill was a racist on the Daily Express forum, or burning a Union Jack in Whitehall.
You can't refute the proposition that X is a property of Y by saying that X is also a property of Z. Whether Churchill was a racist or not is a matter of fact, and this can be approached scientifically - by finding out what he said and did - or religiously - by taking a position and not caring for the truth.
Similarly, though, you can defend almost any proposition that X is a property of Y by claiming just a single instance of it being the case, but it doesn't mean you've really identified the problem accurately. Heresy and its use as a tool of oppression isn't an inherent property of religion. It's simply a localised expression of a wider human problem, which is the nature of how people (men) have historically wielded power, and in particular how that power has been used to deal with dissent, disagreement or defiance. Back in the times when religious institutions were where the power was held (which is obviously still the case in many places worldwide), the tendency of the powerful to harshly suppress dissent or, more generally, anyone identified as being in the outgroup was expressed by imprisoning, exiling, torturing and/or killing people who were (or weren't) Roman catholic, or who were (or weren't) Protestant, or people who claimed the earth went round the sun, or people who didn't fit the social mould (either by being female with attitude, or by fancying people with the wrong genitals), or by crusading and thereby murdering Muslims, etc.

Lots of examples, of course. But these days, at least in the UK, religious institutions are considerably less powerful than they once were, and though sometimes they wield the bits of power they do have in oppressive ways (section 28 and gay marriage being two recent sh.tty examples), it isn't as if oppression has gone away elsewhere. One just has to look at how Boris Johnson copes with dissent, how he's trying to lever tories into positions of power and tilt the constitutional construction of the UK and government in his favour. At how remainers were branded "traitors". Or, further back, at Soviet Russia. It's the same tendency of how an ingroup in power reacts to outgroups over and over again. In an alternative universe where religion never existed, I doubt history would have been considerably less miserable. I could well be wrong, though.

The interesting thing isn't whether religious institutions in power did evil things (of course they did), it's in whether there is any claim at all for religious people to be better behaved on average than non-religious people. There's a "no true scotsman" thing there, of course - it's easy for a Christian to state that a man who murders his wife and children couldn't have been a Christian because a Christian wouldn't do that, but that's often nonsense. But overall, I can't honestly say for myself that I think Christianity as it exists today produces a net positive for society, though I'm open to argument from warumich and any others that I'm wrong. This thought, really, has been one of the primary reasons why my faith has fallen away.

There is some evidence that, in certain ways, particular religious groups can be more generous or considerate about the environment, though that latter link makes it clear that results vary widely - conservative Christian groups tend to be, surprise surprise, c.nts. On average. And, obviously, there are Christian groups out there who do good, who look after the poor or volunteer for charities or shelter the homeless or provide humanitarian aid. But non-religious groups do those things too, and for every Christian who does what Jesus asked them to do, elsewhere there's some personal or institutional c.ntery about abortion or protecting child molesters from facing justice or shouting that two consenting adults who love each other can't get married if they happen to have the same size gametes.

For me that's where the argument about religion has legs - is it any use any more? And how different would things be if it went away? I don't see that arguments about who did what in the middle ages are that useful to that discussion, because the power dynamics have changed so significantly. It's also why making snide statements about resurrection or other largely socially irrelevant points of religious belief isn't really that useful, because all it does is attack the personal, the unspoken, when there's so much more about religion that is institutional and vocal to push back against.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:54 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:05 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:03 am
warumich wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:36 am
Heresy laws are measures of social control and as such a political phenomenon pretty much divorced from religion as such. You can demonstrate that you don't need religion for heresy laws by trying to point out that Churchill was a racist on the Daily Express forum, or burning a Union Jack in Whitehall.
You can't refute the proposition that X is a property of Y by saying that X is also a property of Z. Whether Churchill was a racist or not is a matter of fact, and this can be approached scientifically - by finding out what he said and did - or religiously - by taking a position and not caring for the truth.
Similarly, though, you can defend almost any proposition that X is a property of Y by claiming just a single instance of it being the case, but it doesn't mean you've really identified the problem accurately. Heresy and its use as a tool of oppression isn't an inherent property of religion. It's simply a localised expression of a wider human problem, which is the nature of how people (men) have historically wielded power, and in particular how that power has been used to deal with dissent, disagreement or defiance. Back in the times when religious institutions were where the power was held (which is obviously still the case in many places worldwide), the tendency of the powerful to harshly suppress dissent or, more generally, anyone identified as being in the outgroup was expressed by imprisoning, exiling, torturing and/or killing people who were (or weren't) Roman catholic, or who were (or weren't) Protestant, or people who claimed the earth went round the sun, or people who didn't fit the social mould (either by being female with attitude, or by fancying people with the wrong genitals), or by crusading and thereby murdering Muslims, etc.

Lots of examples, of course. But these days, at least in the UK, religious institutions are considerably less powerful than they once were, and though sometimes they wield the bits of power they do have in oppressive ways (section 28 and gay marriage being two recent sh.tty examples), it isn't as if oppression has gone away elsewhere. One just has to look at how Boris Johnson copes with dissent, how he's trying to lever tories into positions of power and tilt the constitutional construction of the UK and government in his favour. At how remainers were branded "traitors". Or, further back, at Soviet Russia. It's the same tendency of how an ingroup in power reacts to outgroups over and over again. In an alternative universe where religion never existed, I doubt history would have been considerably less miserable. I could well be wrong, though...
There is progress, though. Boris Johnson isn't coping with dissent by burning people to death. In this thread we're generally able to discuss the subject without it being shut down by people crying heresy.

What's changed? People are biologically the same because evolution doesn't happen that fast. I think people will always have ingroups and outgroups but more and more people are able to see the whole of humanity as the ingroup. Or at least to not dehumanise the groups which they consider less "in" than the others. And we have rule of law rather than appeal to moralizing gods.

I would certainly not say that this progress is thanks to religion because back when religious institutions had the power, we had your first paragraph, and that was (in the case of Western Christianity) when they'd already had more than a thousand years to think about it. So if they've suddenly actually figured out what "thou shalt not murder" and "do unto others..." means, it's because of outside pressure.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:00 am

5 Bizarre Parts of Christianity That Are Going Away Forever

Written by someone who "was once happily immersed in the evangelical Christian lifestyle, who went to church three days a week (while in college), who signed a contract (at age 12) promising never to drink or do drugs or have sex before marriage, who self-censored mainstream secular music for a whole year and still can't hear "Hotel California" without getting the heebie-jeebies".
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:19 am

shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:54 am
I would certainly not say that this progress is thanks to religion because back when religious institutions had the power, we had your first paragraph, and that was (in the case of Western Christianity) when they'd already had more than a thousand years to think about it. So if they've suddenly actually figured out what "thou shalt not murder" and "do unto others..." means, it's because of outside pressure.

sorry, there's many things over the last two pages that I would want to reply to, but I'm having to do a bit of work today (I know!), so excuse me for being selective. This as I said somewhere earlier is not quite right because Christianity had an explicit no murder policy from the get go, and that was a reason for their initial success - replacing a happily murdering infanticidal Roman paganism. That these ideals have slipped 1000 years later is clear, but more a sign of human nature re-asserting itself. So progress was made and then unmade again as soon as Christianity became a majority religion and the same old psychos rise to the top as they do in all institutional settings. Actually I would see this as a sign of how easily religion can adapt to changing social (and epistemological) circumstances, despite what the scripture says.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Allo V Psycho » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:46 am

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:37 am
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:18 am
That....seems a little unkind, surely? People can have different perspectives, and argue from these perspectives.
I'm calling it like I see it. This is a technical subject, and people have studied it intensively for a century at least. The idea that someone can just chime in with 'what they reckon' and be entitled to be treated like they have a serious contribution to make is ridiculous.
So, genuinely, are you saying that I shouldn't chime in on it with what I reckon, or that the idea that I might have a serious contribution to make is ridiculous?

Just to be clear on my lack of credentials, I haven't studied philosophy of science beyond reading a few books, and I'm certainly haven't studied history of science intensively.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:47 am

This post should probably have a trigger warning. (How do they work, though? If I say what the trigger might be, isn't that triggering in itself?)
warumich wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:19 am
shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:54 am
I would certainly not say that this progress is thanks to religion because back when religious institutions had the power, we had your first paragraph, and that was (in the case of Western Christianity) when they'd already had more than a thousand years to think about it. So if they've suddenly actually figured out what "thou shalt not murder" and "do unto others..." means, it's because of outside pressure.
sorry, there's many things over the last two pages that I would want to reply to, but I'm having to do a bit of work today (I know!), so excuse me for being selective. This as I said somewhere earlier is not quite right because Christianity had an explicit no murder policy from the get go, and that was a reason for their initial success - replacing a happily murdering infanticidal Roman paganism.
"happily murdering" children? Really? Murdering their own new-born children "happily"?
warumich wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:19 am
That these ideals have slipped 1000 years later is clear, but more a sign of human nature re-asserting itself.
So if it's good it's Christianity and if it's bad it's humans?
warumich wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:19 am
So progress was made and then unmade again as soon as Christianity became a majority religion and the same old psychos rise to the top as they do in all institutional settings. Actually I would see this as a sign of how easily religion can adapt to changing social (and epistemological) circumstances, despite what the scripture says.
We no longer accept the murder of new-born children as a method of population control, but we do have legalized abortion. How is the Christian religion adapting to that?
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:11 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:42 am
shpalman wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:08 pm
warumich wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:36 am
... science is also not about abandoning previously held beliefs in the face of disconfirming evidence without a great amount of reluctance (Kuhn 1961).
Right now particle physicists are desperate to get some experimental data they can't explain with the Standard Model, for example. Just look at what happens when there's some bump at CERN (which then disappears rather than reaching 5-sigma) or the current interest in the distant decimal places of the magnetic moment of the muon.
Yes, this corresponds to my own experience of lab work. The excitement (and for me it was a literal sensation, a physical stirring in the pit of the stomach) comes from thinking you have discovered something new, something which goes against previously held beliefs (and almost always you are disappointingly wrong). I remember sitting up all night by the scintillation counter.... (Yep, wrong again).

My boss, bless him, would articulate firm positions, but offer a bottle of champagne if you proved him wrong, and pay up very cheerfully. We were all really interested in what actually happens in the natural world - it was a series of riddles, and each time something new emerged, it was a delight, even if (specially if) it was a surprise.

I think scientists get the respect of other scientists (something which is a real driver) by demonstrating something new, rather than by confirming something conventional. My problem with Kuhn was mostly about the 'normal science' bit, not the idea of big paradigm shifts. I wonder if philosophers and historians of science might lack that kind of experience.

That's all fine, I'm not suggesting that science doesn't pay any attention to contrary evidence either! But you're not going to give up on established theory the moment an anomalous result comes in*. Kuhn was brought up as an example of historical work that demonstrates how scientists do traditionally tend to work around anomalous results until it becomes inevitable. The philosophical interpretation what with normal and revolutionary science that Kuhn developed to make sense of this I acknowledge is disputed, and I don't really hold to it myself. But the facts on the historical record he recounts are not as far as I know generally challenged. Kudos to Millennie btw for pointing to a more obscure paper by Kuhn (published in 1963, not 61), but I did mean his main book on the structure of scientific revolutions (which I just realised was 1962, oh well). Also worth reading was his earlier more historical work on the Copernican revolution. His PhD for what that's worth was in physics btw.





* I hope. While we're confessing our lacks of expertise I'll need to note that I've not done science beyond UG level. In the UG lab, when I failed to get the textbook results the explanation was usually that I have two left hands and am not suited to experimental work, rather than that I have discovered something new. So I'd think that the first reaction to anomalous results should be to question it rigorously and seek more likely explanations. My contention is that this is not too dissimilar to what happens when religion encounters anomalous evidence, only they have background assumptions they take as true that you or Millennie (and come to that, me too) already disagree with; so we'd find it easier to abandon them. Or if you want a Bayesian take, their priors are different.

eta: added a crucial "but"
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:31 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:46 am
So, genuinely, are you saying that I shouldn't chime in on it with what I reckon, or that the idea that I might have a serious contribution to make is ridiculous?

Just to be clear on my lack of credentials, I haven't studied philosophy of science beyond reading a few books, and I'm certainly haven't studied history of science intensively.
If you chime in with 'what you reckon' on a technical subject that you're relatively inexpert in, you should not expect to be treated like you have something serious to add to the discussion no. If this were physics or biology this would be totally uncontroversial. Whether what you personally have said deserves to be treated seriously is rather a moot point, as this exchange started with my response to Millennie Al. So unless you are Millennie Al, I don't understand why you're making this about you.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Allo V Psycho » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:06 pm

warumich wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:11 pm

That's all fine, I'm not suggesting that science doesn't pay any attention to contrary evidence either! But you're not going to give up on established theory the moment an anomalous result comes in*.
I'm supposed to be working too, so I'll just clip this interesting bit!

What I think may happen is that a surprise (but yes, well attested) anomalous result result changes the way the established theory is viewed. Its status becomes avowedly provisional. You might still work with it, if it remains useful, but there is always a question mark against it. And this then channels lots of energy into trying to find an explanation for the anomalous result, ideally a new theory that encompasses both the old and the new. I'm thinking of the photoelectric effect and the ultraviolet catastrophe in physics history, and I think this is what Shpalman is describing with regard to the new particle results. The existence of the anomaly is a challenge, a motivator, but most especially, a chance to win fame and recognition.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Allo V Psycho » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:11 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:31 pm
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:46 am
So, genuinely, are you saying that I shouldn't chime in on it with what I reckon, or that the idea that I might have a serious contribution to make is ridiculous?

Just to be clear on my lack of credentials, I haven't studied philosophy of science beyond reading a few books, and I'm certainly haven't studied history of science intensively.
If you chime in with 'what you reckon' on a technical subject that you're relatively inexpert in, you should not expect to be treated like you have something serious to add to the discussion no. If this were physics or biology this would be totally uncontroversial. Whether what you personally have said deserves to be treated seriously is rather a moot point, as this exchange started with my response to Millennie Al. So unless you are Millennie Al, I don't understand why you're making this about you.
No, I'm not Millenie Al, and I'm not trying to make it about me - I'm just curious as to whether you think this of all members of the forum, or if you have a particular thing with Al. Few posters on the forum are expert in your sense on many things, but their views might still be interesting and deserving of respect and, indeed, be treated seriously. This thread is a good example. There are many legitimate and interesting viewpoints outside those of the small (but highly valued ) number of experts like warumich.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:22 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:06 pm
warumich wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:11 pm

That's all fine, I'm not suggesting that science doesn't pay any attention to contrary evidence either! But you're not going to give up on established theory the moment an anomalous result comes in*.
I'm supposed to be working too, so I'll just clip this interesting bit!

What I think may happen is that a surprise (but yes, well attested) anomalous result result changes the way the established theory is viewed. Its status becomes avowedly provisional. You might still work with it, if it remains useful, but there is always a question mark against it. And this then channels lots of energy into trying to find an explanation for the anomalous result, ideally a new theory that encompasses both the old and the new. I'm thinking of the photoelectric effect and the ultraviolet catastrophe in physics history, and I think this is what Shpalman is describing with regard to the new particle results. The existence of the anomaly is a challenge, a motivator, but most especially, a chance to win fame and recognition.
Yes it was, in terms of the motivators of quantum mechanics.

I'll just add to this that what I reckon Kuhn would have called "normal science" tends to involve improving experimental techniques (getting better material to experiment on, designing better experiments, doing them better just generally) so as to remove all the things which might look like an anomalous result but are just noise/subjectivity/error/technical problems. So that if the anomaly doesn't go away you can start to consider it more likely to denote some real new physical effect.

I spend a lot of time on the "getting better material" part so as other people's physics is "cleaner".

Religion has no analog to this since it doesn't really have a concept of "experimental data".
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:27 pm

shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:47 am
"happily murdering" children? Really? Murdering their own new-born children "happily"?
rhetorical flourish, apologies. But it did happen as a matter of routine.
shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:47 am
So if it's good it's Christianity and if it's bad it's humans?
Ok, I can see why this rankles maybe I shouldn't have posted in a hurry. I'm trying to say that while religions say good and bad things (according to our current moral frameworks), they change and shift over time, and we cannot use examples of bad behaviour to damn every religion, or even all of Christianity for its whole 2000 year existence. We need to damn individuals, and individual beliefs.
shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:47 am
We no longer accept the murder of new-born children as a method of population control, but we do have legalized abortion. How is the Christian religion adapting to that?
Well apart from those religions/religious people who do support abortion, I actually think that the no-abortion denominations show more moral consistency than we (including I) do. They at least have a clear idea of where a human life starts and then hold to the no-murder policy, whereas we tend to handwave at a couple of fairly arbitrary developmental milestones in a fetus that are pretty much designed to support the conclusion we want to arrive at. Now that is a can of worms though
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:45 pm

shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:22 pm
Religion has no analog to this since it doesn't really have a concept of "experimental data".
Well quite. They are similar in the sense that they are both attempts at making sense of the world, but I'm not saying they're the same, not since the 17th century anyway. But our attempts at making sense of the world usually involve intuitive epistemologies so we all react to evidence and contrary evidence in similar ways. More formalised so in science and that makes most of the difference in my view, but still - religions also make predictions (like, prophecies) and failure of these predictions leads people to reassess their background assumptions, only not immediately so and with plenty of reluctance.


Anyhoo, back to work, sorry
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:48 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:11 pm
No, I'm not Millenie Al, and I'm not trying to make it about me - I'm just curious as to whether you think this of all members of the forum, or if you have a particular thing with Al. Few posters on the forum are expert in your sense on many things, but their views might still be interesting and deserving of respect and, indeed, be treated seriously. This thread is a good example. There are many legitimate and interesting viewpoints outside those of the small (but highly valued ) number of experts like warumich.
The general rule applies equally to everyone, but the application depends on the content of the posts. The specific situation here was that an obvious non-expert was confidently arguing with an expert in a fairly obnoxious manner. E.g., as quoted in the post that started our exchange:
You are confusing science with scientists. It's not science because it is something done by scientists: they're scientists because they are doing science...
I'm sure if I were arguing with you about something close to your field of professional expertise, and I implied you misunderstood it at a basic level, while simultaneously pushing soundly debunked ideas myself, you would have something to say about it.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:53 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:48 pm
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:11 pm
No, I'm not Millenie Al, and I'm not trying to make it about me - I'm just curious as to whether you think this of all members of the forum, or if you have a particular thing with Al. Few posters on the forum are expert in your sense on many things, but their views might still be interesting and deserving of respect and, indeed, be treated seriously. This thread is a good example. There are many legitimate and interesting viewpoints outside those of the small (but highly valued ) number of experts like warumich.
The general rule applies equally to everyone, but the application depends on the content of the posts. The specific situation here was that an obvious non-expert was confidently arguing with an expert in a fairly obnoxious manner. E.g., as quoted in the post that started our exchange:
You are confusing science with scientists. It's not science because it is something done by scientists: they're scientists because they are doing science...
I'm sure if I were arguing with you about something close to your field of professional expertise, and I implied you misunderstood it at a basic level, while simultaneously pushing soundly debunked ideas myself, you would have something to say about it.
But you did it by ad-homming rather than refuting the content, which added nothing to the discussion.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:01 pm

shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:53 pm
But you did it by ad-homming rather than refuting the content, which added nothing to the discussion.
There comes a point where you just have to tell someone that they don't know what they're talking about. It's pure bad faith to say any different.

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Stephanie
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Stephanie » Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:15 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:11 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:31 pm
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:46 am
So, genuinely, are you saying that I shouldn't chime in on it with what I reckon, or that the idea that I might have a serious contribution to make is ridiculous?

Just to be clear on my lack of credentials, I haven't studied philosophy of science beyond reading a few books, and I'm certainly haven't studied history of science intensively.
If you chime in with 'what you reckon' on a technical subject that you're relatively inexpert in, you should not expect to be treated like you have something serious to add to the discussion no. If this were physics or biology this would be totally uncontroversial. Whether what you personally have said deserves to be treated seriously is rather a moot point, as this exchange started with my response to Millennie Al. So unless you are Millennie Al, I don't understand why you're making this about you.
No, I'm not Millenie Al, and I'm not trying to make it about me - I'm just curious as to whether you think this of all members of the forum, or if you have a particular thing with Al. Few posters on the forum are expert in your sense on many things, but their views might still be interesting and deserving of respect and, indeed, be treated seriously. This thread is a good example. There are many legitimate and interesting viewpoints outside those of the small (but highly valued ) number of experts like warumich.
Have you considered whether warumich has been fairly treated with respect on this thread, Allo V Psycho?
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:21 pm

Squeak wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:06 am

More tritely, can someone please summarise Alpha for me? I see the signs advertising at local churches (both the ugly modern rock-music type churches and the local pretty cathedrals, a split which suggests that it's got really quite broad appeal in Christian circles) and I don't trust my google-fu to find me useful information on the merits of religious education courses.
The Wiki is fairly accurate on the Alpha course.

The Alpha Course is marketed as a beginners guide to the Christian faith. It is run as a series of cozy evening meetings, usually at a church elder's house. Usually there is a meal called "fellowship meal", usually pasta, salad, bread (crusty) and a jug of orange, red wine if it is a particularly middle class venue. It's always very middle class*. This is then followed by a discussion around teaching materials provided by HTB. (Holy Trinity Brompton.)

I have not attended an Alpha course, by choice. But being married at one time to a CofE Vicar** I/we had quite a lot of pressure on us to run an Alpha course, so we read the literature and the course materials that were sent to us. That was enough for both of us.

The course is very Evangelical/charismatic in the modern American influenced sense, and HTB is one of a loose confederation of similar large, successful evangelical/charismatic churches in the UK; St Andrews Chorleywood, St Michael Le Belfry York, St Thomas Crookes Sheffield, to name a few, that are, or were strongly influenced by the "Kansas City Prophets" a group described as heretical by Wiki.

In terms of the Holy Trinity; Father, Son, Holy Spirit, the emphasis is very light on the first, more on the second and mostly on the third, focussing heavily on "Gifts of the Spirit". These gifts are talking in tongues, interpretation thereof and prophesy. So only one weeks worth session was on God the Father, a few on Jesus but most on prophesies and other gifts as described in the Bible.

Please be aware that I am biased, my last contact with Alpha was 15 years ago and that my faith such as it was, "slid up the candle" from low church charismatic evangelicalism to high church smells and bells and off and out into full blown not really caring.

*My friends at Holy Joes/ Ship of Fools issued an April 1st press release purporting to come from HTB about a "Beta Course" alternative to Alpha, but for the working class, with the Good News bible with pictures replacing the NIV and a pie and peas supper with brown ale instead of the pasta and salad. The UK Christian press picked it up without question and ran with it.
HTB did run a follow up course called Beta may years later.

** There was some pressure put on me to explore ordination by the director of ordinands, he did not see what a completely utterly f.cking stupid idea this was. :lol:
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Allo V Psycho » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:01 pm

Stephanie wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:15 pm
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:11 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:31 pm

If you chime in with 'what you reckon' on a technical subject that you're relatively inexpert in, you should not expect to be treated like you have something serious to add to the discussion no. If this were physics or biology this would be totally uncontroversial. Whether what you personally have said deserves to be treated seriously is rather a moot point, as this exchange started with my response to Millennie Al. So unless you are Millennie Al, I don't understand why you're making this about you.
No, I'm not Millenie Al, and I'm not trying to make it about me - I'm just curious as to whether you think this of all members of the forum, or if you have a particular thing with Al. Few posters on the forum are expert in your sense on many things, but their views might still be interesting and deserving of respect and, indeed, be treated seriously. This thread is a good example. There are many legitimate and interesting viewpoints outside those of the small (but highly valued ) number of experts like warumich.
Have you considered whether warumich has been fairly treated with respect on this thread, Allo V Psycho?
I'm a bit surprised at the question - but yes, I think warumich has generally been treated with respect, even commendation, on the thread. There have been some disagreements, expressed with directness: but perhaps I have missed examples of personal disrespect? Certainly for my part, and even though I think I disagree in part with warumich, I have tried to express myself moderately, and to indicate respect for his expertise. And I should say that I am perfectly persuadable by his comments, towards his position. I don't have a dogmatic view (no pun intended). It's quite common to argue forcefully as a way of clarifying one's own thoughts.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Allo V Psycho » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:05 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:48 pm
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:11 pm
No, I'm not Millenie Al, and I'm not trying to make it about me - I'm just curious as to whether you think this of all members of the forum, or if you have a particular thing with Al. Few posters on the forum are expert in your sense on many things, but their views might still be interesting and deserving of respect and, indeed, be treated seriously. This thread is a good example. There are many legitimate and interesting viewpoints outside those of the small (but highly valued ) number of experts like warumich.
The general rule applies equally to everyone, but the application depends on the content of the posts. The specific situation here was that an obvious non-expert was confidently arguing with an expert in a fairly obnoxious manner. E.g., as quoted in the post that started our exchange:
You are confusing science with scientists. It's not science because it is something done by scientists: they're scientists because they are doing science...
I'm sure if I were arguing with you about something close to your field of professional expertise, and I implied you misunderstood it at a basic level, while simultaneously pushing soundly debunked ideas myself, you would have something to say about it.
Well, that does happen! And I hope that I have generally replied calmly and reasonably, as indeed warumich does, and attempted to demonstrate (often with references to the wider literature) the evidence that I think supports my view. But I am open to being shown examples of where I have behaved differently.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by KAJ » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:20 pm

shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:53 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:48 pm
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:11 pm
No, I'm not Millenie Al, and I'm not trying to make it about me - I'm just curious as to whether you think this of all members of the forum, or if you have a particular thing with Al. Few posters on the forum are expert in your sense on many things, but their views might still be interesting and deserving of respect and, indeed, be treated seriously. This thread is a good example. There are many legitimate and interesting viewpoints outside those of the small (but highly valued ) number of experts like warumich.
The general rule applies equally to everyone, but the application depends on the content of the posts. The specific situation here was that an obvious non-expert was confidently arguing with an expert in a fairly obnoxious manner. E.g., as quoted in the post that started our exchange:
You are confusing science with scientists. It's not science because it is something done by scientists: they're scientists because they are doing science...
I'm sure if I were arguing with you about something close to your field of professional expertise, and I implied you misunderstood it at a basic level, while simultaneously pushing soundly debunked ideas myself, you would have something to say about it.
But you did it by ad-homming rather than refuting the content, which added nothing to the discussion.
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:01 pm
shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:53 pm
But you did it by ad-homming rather than refuting the content, which added nothing to the discussion.
There comes a point where you just have to tell someone that they don't know what they're talking about. It's pure bad faith to say any different.
Preamble declaring my ignorance, I've not studied philosophy or history of science since a few lectures 50 years ago. Neither do I know what is your field of professional expertise, so I apologise in advance if I don't give you adequate respect. However, I have spent a working lifetime doing scientific research.

Question: What was obnoxious about the phrase you quoted?
You are confusing science with scientists. It's not science because it is something done by scientists: they're scientists because they are doing science...
Was it the suggestion that you were wrong?
Or was it "It's not science because it is something done by scientists: they're scientists because they are doing science..."? If the latter, what's wrong with it ? It seems unexceptionable to me.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:37 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:05 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:48 pm
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:11 pm
No, I'm not Millenie Al, and I'm not trying to make it about me - I'm just curious as to whether you think this of all members of the forum, or if you have a particular thing with Al. Few posters on the forum are expert in your sense on many things, but their views might still be interesting and deserving of respect and, indeed, be treated seriously. This thread is a good example. There are many legitimate and interesting viewpoints outside those of the small (but highly valued ) number of experts like warumich.
The general rule applies equally to everyone, but the application depends on the content of the posts. The specific situation here was that an obvious non-expert was confidently arguing with an expert in a fairly obnoxious manner. E.g., as quoted in the post that started our exchange:
You are confusing science with scientists. It's not science because it is something done by scientists: they're scientists because they are doing science...
I'm sure if I were arguing with you about something close to your field of professional expertise, and I implied you misunderstood it at a basic level, while simultaneously pushing soundly debunked ideas myself, you would have something to say about it.
Well, that does happen! And I hope that I have generally replied calmly and reasonably, as indeed warumich does, and attempted to demonstrate (often with references to the wider literature) the evidence that I think supports my view. But I am open to being shown examples of where I have behaved differently.
Just to say that you've always been nothing but polite. I don't generally feel the tone of this thread has been too horrible and I appreciate other views. Lpm has a very abrasive style that can grate at times, but I admit it's funny when the target is Trump. Millennie I don't feel I know that well, but he/she clearly disagrees with me on many things. That's fine, though I do feel at times that I have to say the same thing multiple times because people tend to take issue with what they think I have said rather than what I have said. But hey I do that too, and I may not always express myself clearly enough.

Anyway, I may have to take a step back from the thread as work has been piling up. Buy my book!
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by JellyandJackson » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:38 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:21 pm

*My friends at Holy Joes/ Ship of Fools issued an April 1st press release purporting to come from HTB about a "Beta Course" alternative to Alpha, but for the working class, with the Good News bible with pictures replacing the NIV and a pie and peas supper with brown ale instead of the pasta and salad. The UK Christian press picked it up without question and ran with it.
HTB did run a follow up course called Beta may years later.
[tangent]
Ship of Fools is ace.
[/tangent]
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