Atheists... Why not just promote moderation and integration.

To solve world problems

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Baz
Site Supporter
Posts: 482
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:01 pm
Location: Bristol UK

Atheists... Why not just promote moderation and integration.

Post #1

Post by Baz »

I think a lot of fundamentalist atheists are trying to go a step too far.

Fundamentalist Christians thought that the world needed to be taught that their religion was the only way, and imposed it by force on those that would not believe.
Muslims and undoubtedly other religions still do this in some places where they can get away with it.

In my opinion and hopefully somebody agrees with me, this attitude is no way to act in modern times.
(I note that there could have been some positives with regard to forming strong societies in the past but that’s not my point.)
:-k
My question is, why do sensible well educated atheists continue to attempt convert people away from their religion altogether?
Rather than promoting integration and moderation.
This would have the effect so often wished for by many atheists of reducing the amount of religious interference in their lives.

Even to the simplest of minds (i.e. mine) this has to be a more realistic approach.
Heads brick walls and all that.


Ps. I interpret fundamentalist, as the belief that one holds the sole source of objective truth.
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

User avatar
Autodidact
Prodigy
Posts: 3014
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:18 pm

Post #11

Post by Autodidact »

Baz wrote:
Let’s imagine that all believers in every religion across the world are delusional, for the most part those delusions have built the world we have today. I consider myself immensely fortunate in being exactly where and when I am, but regardless of the view you hold about that everything in the past was necessary to arrive at this point.

So where do we go from here?

Let’s now imagine that there is a small group of people that have unique access to the real truth how do they go about converting, healing, teaching, (however you would like to put it) a world full of delusional people?
:-k
Free and open discussion, access to information, increased literacy, universal education and the internet.

User avatar
Question Everything
Sage
Posts: 857
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:36 am
Location: Tampa Bay area
Contact:

Post #12

Post by Question Everything »

Baz wrote: Let’s now imagine that there is a small group of people that have unique access to the real truth how do they go about converting, healing, teaching, (however you would like to put it) a world full of delusional people?
:-k
Image

I think that the answer lies in establishing the same standards of evidence for all beliefs, regardless of what the belief is. It needs to be a hard and fast rule with no exceptions that all beliefs must be supported by evidence, and the strength of the belief should be proportional to the weight of the evidence. If people did "have unique access to the real truth" this truth would be extremely well supported by evidence.

You then have to deal with two groups of people - (1) the truly whacked, and (2) otherwise rational people who are persuaded by them. There are some people who will never accept the truth, no matter what you say to them. They are in the first group. There are others who will see through the delusions of the truly whacked once you can get them to see the evidence you have for what it really is. They are in the second (and hopefully much larger) group.

But how do you get people to understand the importance of basing beliefs on evidence and how to properly evaluate the evidence? I have some suggestions for our schools:

1. Have a high school class called "Foundations of science" that would be a prerequisite for any science class. Without it and an appropriate amount of science classes, you would be unable to graduate. This class would not teach what we have learned from science (other than examples), it would teach the process of science itself such as elimination of bias, use of controls in experiments, the importance of peer review, and so on. This class would also focus on using evidence based thinking on "non scientific" subjects like economics and law.

2. Implement Daniel Dennett's idea of teaching the facts about all the major world religions.

3. Reform the idea of education itself so that it is based on thinking and problem solving skills, not the memorization of facts.
"Oh, you can''t get through seminary and come out believing in God!"

current pastor who is a closet atheist
quoted by Daniel Dennett.

User avatar
Baz
Site Supporter
Posts: 482
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:01 pm
Location: Bristol UK

Post #13

Post by Baz »

Question Everything wrote:
Baz wrote: Let’s now imagine that there is a small group of people that have unique access to the real truth how do they go about converting, healing, teaching, (however you would like to put it) a world full of delusional people?
:-k
Image

I think that the answer lies in establishing the same standards of evidence for all beliefs, regardless of what the belief is. It needs to be a hard and fast rule with no exceptions that all beliefs must be supported by evidence, and the strength of the belief should be proportional to the weight of the evidence. If people did "have unique access to the real truth" this truth would be extremely well supported by evidence.

You then have to deal with two groups of people - (1) the truly whacked, and (2) otherwise rational people who are persuaded by them. There are some people who will never accept the truth, no matter what you say to them. They are in the first group. There are others who will see through the delusions of the truly whacked once you can get them to see the evidence you have for what it really is. They are in the second (and hopefully much larger) group.

But how do you get people to understand the importance of basing beliefs on evidence and how to properly evaluate the evidence? I have some suggestions for our schools:

1. Have a high school class called "Foundations of science" that would be a prerequisite for any science class. Without it and an appropriate amount of science classes, you would be unable to graduate. This class would not teach what we have learned from science (other than examples), it would teach the process of science itself such as elimination of bias, use of controls in experiments, the importance of peer review, and so on. This class would also focus on using evidence based thinking on "non scientific" subjects like economics and law.

2. Implement Daniel Dennett's idea of teaching the facts about all the major world religions.

3. Reform the idea of education itself so that it is based on thinking and problem solving skills, not the memorization of facts.

:)
I am in agreement with some of your last post, starting with schools for one; education in all things has to be good, doesn’t it?

I don’t know about Daniel Dennett’s methods, but teaching the facts and fictions of all religions sound good to me, especially if done in a way that both allows the child to be part of their families religion and gain some understanding about the beliefs of others. As an understanding of the origins of these beliefs developt so would an understanding that for the most part they are not factual.

Thinking and problem solving has to be the best starting point for all education.

I still can’t bring myself to agree with the need to find some method of evidencing beliefs, it sounds a bit like asking somebody to prove they love art.

And I loved the little cartoons even though I have no way of proving it. :whistle:
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

User avatar
Baz
Site Supporter
Posts: 482
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:01 pm
Location: Bristol UK

Post #14

Post by Baz »

Autodidact wrote: Free and open discussion, access to information, increased literacy, universal education and the internet.
:thumb:
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

User avatar
Baz
Site Supporter
Posts: 482
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:01 pm
Location: Bristol UK

Post #15

Post by Baz »

Furrowed Brow wrote:
Baz wrote: Let’s now imagine that there is a small group of people that have unique access to the real truth how do they go about converting, healing, teaching, (however you would like to put it) a world full of delusional people?
:-k
We start by encouraging people not to imagine that. Instead we encourage them to imagine a way of thinking that stands a better chance of not leaving them in the common position of accessing real untruths and nonsense.
Can I ask you to rephrase of elaborate please. I must be having yet another of my dumb days. I don’t think I get your point.
:-s
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

User avatar
Question Everything
Sage
Posts: 857
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:36 am
Location: Tampa Bay area
Contact:

Post #16

Post by Question Everything »

Baz wrote: I don’t know about Daniel Dennett’s methods, but teaching the facts and fictions of all religions sound good to me, especially if done in a way that both allows the child to be part of their families religion and gain some understanding about the beliefs of others. As an understanding of the origins of these beliefs developt so would an understanding that for the most part they are not factual.
This is exactly what he has in mind, and by "facts" he means things that even opposing religions would agree with, for example that the pope is the leader of the Catholic church, and Islam considers Mohammed to be the last prophet of God.
Baz wrote: I still can’t bring myself to agree with the need to find some method of evidencing beliefs, it sounds a bit like asking somebody to prove they love art.
I'm sorry, I should have clarified. By "belief" I meant any belief on how the physical universe operates and how it came to be. If you believe that Lord of the Rings was the best story ever written, you are entitled to your opinion. If you believe that Lord of the Rings was written by Shakespeare, you are mistaken.
"Oh, you can''t get through seminary and come out believing in God!"

current pastor who is a closet atheist
quoted by Daniel Dennett.

User avatar
Baz
Site Supporter
Posts: 482
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:01 pm
Location: Bristol UK

Post #17

Post by Baz »

Question Everything wrote: I'm sorry, I should have clarified. By "belief" I meant any belief on how the physical universe operates and how it came to be. If you believe that Lord of the Rings was the best story ever written, you are entitled to your opinion. If you believe that Lord of the Rings was written by Shakespeare, you are mistaken.

OK. I get what you are saying but I love Shakespeare, :shock: couldn’t you have broken it to me gently?
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

User avatar
Furrowed Brow
Site Supporter
Posts: 3725
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:29 am
Location: Here
Been thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Post #18

Post by Furrowed Brow »

Baz wrote:
Furrowed Brow wrote:
Baz wrote: Let’s now imagine that there is a small group of people that have unique access to the real truth how do they go about converting, healing, teaching, (however you would like to put it) a world full of delusional people?
:-k
We start by encouraging people not to imagine that. Instead we encourage them to imagine a way of thinking that stands a better chance of not leaving them in the common position of accessing real untruths and nonsense.
Can I ask you to rephrase of elaborate please. I must be having yet another of my dumb days. I don’t think I get your point.
:-s
Imagining someone or group has unique access to real truth is a religious precept and one of its most dangerous characteristics. I once read there is humility in rigour because it is motivated by the idea that your last thought is not good enough. That idea has staid with me. The best we can hope to do is reflect on our efforts, use all the tools of critical thinking, hope we have made sufficient effort, then decide we have not and push on. I think the whole project should drop the notion of truth and who has it, and focus on how to make the sufficient emotional and intellectual effort with the sufficient degree of self reflection, observation and critical rigour and sense of humour. No guarantees but that is going to be the best hope to avoid doing or saying anything really stupid. The difference is that if we concede there is a group with unique access to the truth then there is no freedom to reach a different a conclusion. I think it is Christopher Hitchen’s who pointed out that it is good to have someone disagree with you, even if you know they are completely wrong. If he did not say that I am sure he thought it. If he hasn’t thought it I am sure he would want to. :eyebrow:

User avatar
Baz
Site Supporter
Posts: 482
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:01 pm
Location: Bristol UK

Post #19

Post by Baz »

Furrowed Brow wrote:
Baz wrote:
Furrowed Brow wrote:
Baz wrote: Let’s now imagine that there is a small group of people that have unique access to the real truth how do they go about converting, healing, teaching, (however you would like to put it) a world full of delusional people?
:-k
We start by encouraging people not to imagine that. Instead we encourage them to imagine a way of thinking that stands a better chance of not leaving them in the common position of accessing real untruths and nonsense.
Can I ask you to rephrase of elaborate please. I must be having yet another of my dumb days. I don’t think I get your point.
:-s
Imagining someone or group has unique access to real truth is a religious precept and one of its most dangerous characteristics. I once read there is humility in rigour because it is motivated by the idea that your last thought is not good enough. That idea has staid with me. The best we can hope to do is reflect on our efforts, use all the tools of critical thinking, hope we have made sufficient effort, then decide we have not and push on. I think the whole project should drop the notion of truth and who has it, and focus on how to make the sufficient emotional and intellectual effort with the sufficient degree of self reflection, observation and critical rigour and sense of humour. No guarantees but that is going to be the best hope to avoid doing or saying anything really stupid. The difference is that if we concede there is a group with unique access to the truth then there is no freedom to reach a different a conclusion. I think it is Christopher Hitchen’s who pointed out that it is good to have someone disagree with you, even if you know they are completely wrong. If he did not say that I am sure he thought it. If he hasn’t thought it I am sure he would want to. :eyebrow:

Now that is worded in a way I can understand. I’m glad I asked for the elaboration it is great.
I hope I don’t upset you by association but I agree with every word and think it was very well put.

:bow:


I take it you well understood my reasoning when I used the analogy of a small group that knows they have the only way.
;)


I believe that religion has made mistake after mistake because of this one premise.
I also believe that some atheists are in danger of falling into many of the same traps.
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

User avatar
Question Everything
Sage
Posts: 857
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:36 am
Location: Tampa Bay area
Contact:

Post #20

Post by Question Everything »

Just found a video which I think answers the OP quite well, or at least sheds a lot of light on it.

[youtube][/youtube]
"Oh, you can''t get through seminary and come out believing in God!"

current pastor who is a closet atheist
quoted by Daniel Dennett.

Post Reply