Skip to main content

Topic: The Awesomesauce with Religion (Read 120685 times)

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
The Awesomesauce with Religion
I suppose we need one of these.

Edit (20-02-2014): maybe a more positive title will make some difference? :)
  • Last Edit: 2014-02-20, 18:13:52 by Frenzie

  • string
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Forum Staff
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #675
Quote from: Belfrager
. ..did they ever asked for your opinion? . . .

Ah, but where would we be of no-one have an opinion unless they were asked for one, or where would we be if you're only people who could give opinions were those who were "expert" or intimately involved?

There's many a revelation that comes from people with ignorance. This forum, I dare say, is a shining example.

Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #676
There are plenty of expert bullshiters here. I'm the rare exception to that fact. If I say something, you can take it for truth.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #677
In the remark to the image I posted last in this thread, I said that the authors of scientific studies are subject to cognitive biases too. Specifically, they are subject to the cognitive bias that scientific studies say something irrefutable and irrevertible about reality. In the midst of contradictory conclusions drawn from different scientific experiments and observations, scientists are amazingly incapable of drawing the conclusion that contradictory perspectives are an inherent feature of this world.


The most worrying (to me) aspect of religion is that its contents can be completely fabricated yet considered completely valid by its adherents. There are demonstrably fraudulent religions, such as Mormonism and Scientology, whose adherents suddenly cannot put one and one together when confronted with concrete evidence of frauds perpetrated by the founders of the religions. This can happen whenever truth is not the primary concern, but something else, such as possessing some sense of community or of security or of power or of being special.

This of course applies to atheists too. (materialist/physicalist/naturalist) Atheists stress down-to-earth factuality and logical rigour to promote critical thinking. This works very well for them when criticising any point of view, except when it comes to criticising their own point of view. For example, mind-reading is supposed to not exist, because the mind as a non-physical entity cannot exist, because everything is physical and that's it. However, logically this means that thoughts, memories, dreams, imagination etc. are physically in the brain and neuroscientists, when they study the brain, should be able to directly see those things, i.e. neuroscientists should be mind-readers. Somehow logic, which serves atheists so well otherwise, is lost to them on this point.

The lesson I draw from this is that self-criticism should always be a more acute concern than criticism. And truth should never be compromised. Never as in never.

(Notice how "Never say never" has "never" in it. Twice even.)

  • Belfrager
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #678
The most worrying (to me) aspect of religion is that its contents can be completely fabricated yet considered completely valid by its adherents.

To a pure idealist (at the philosophical sense, meaning the opposite of a materialist) everything is completely "fabricated" meaning there's no material support whatsoever that would be able to give to something some form of support in ontological terms.

Anyway, labeling different religions under the umbrella of "religion", as if all religions were at the same level, it's a reminiscence of materialism. Religion is not to be analyzed at the microscope to find it's characteristics, religion is a way of life.

Even more "anyway", I would like you to convince me that "truth" as any value. People don't need truth, they need something that points them directions to follow.
People find directions at many strange things, because people are lost. Lost as they were never before from the beginning of mankind. It's a sign of the times we live.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #679

To a pure idealist (at the philosophical sense, meaning the opposite of a materialist) everything is completely "fabricated" meaning there's no material support whatsoever that would be able to give to something some form of support in ontological terms.

Well, indeed, to a pure idealist there's no material support to truth and meaning. This is because matter is not even supposed to serve as such support. To a pure idealist, matter itself needs support. Coherence or accord of ideas and harmony of the spirit is the support.  


Anyway, labeling different religions under the umbrella of "religion", as if all religions were at the same level, it's a reminiscence of materialism. Religion is not to be analyzed at the microscope to find it's characteristics, religion is a way of life.

Not sure how I implied all religions were at the same level. I explicitly said some are demonstrably fraudulent; they make material claims and are falsifiable on material basis. And the weird thing is that even so they can serve as religions (as a way of life - we both have the same definition of religion as it should be), they can promote sincerity, devotion, peace and sense of purpose.


Even more "anyway", I would like you to convince me that "truth" as any value. People don't need truth, they need something that points them directions to follow.
People find directions at many strange things, because people are lost. Lost as they were never before from the beginning of mankind. It's a sign of the times we live.

I would argue that truth is that which points to directions to follow. But this means I essentially agree, so I won't argue.

  • Belfrager
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #680
Not sure how I implied all religions were at the same level.

You didn't. I just pushed a little bit. :)
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #681
Never pray to the law of gravity.

  • rjhowie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #682
Regarding that comment on you and the truth jimbro I was sipping my Irn Bru (diet version) and thought you ould make a Pope.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • jseaton2311
  • [*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #683
In the remark to the image I posted last in this thread, I said that the authors of scientific studies are subject to cognitive biases too. Specifically, they are subject to the cognitive bias that scientific studies say something irrefutable and irrevertible about reality. In the midst of contradictory conclusions drawn from different scientific experiments and observations, scientists are amazingly incapable of drawing the conclusion that contradictory perspectives are an inherent feature of this world.

You use your mastery of language and the word to confuse people ersi.  You are trying to convince yourself of something that is not there and so you are merely deluding yourself...you are certainly not the first on this forum to do that (myself included).  However, I can look back at some of the things I say and be convinced by others that I am off base--you cannot do likewise or else you lose it all (in your mind).  You can go on like this until you die dear friend, and if that makes you content then who I am to challenge you.  But, I would be remiss to not say what I think of your thinking. 

Scientists love to shoot science down before it ever gets started because it can give you a valuable reputation--let economics govern what science says and it will all come out in the wash.  100,000 scientists will not let 1 genius scientists get away with diddly squat if his experimentation and proof is the least bit faulty and I think you know that, you just like to take pot shots at science without knowing what it is or how it regulates itself.  You don't have a good grasp on what science does or how it works ersi, and you are not qualified to criticize science--few people are that are not other scientists. 

I believe that science knows that it is the single most important endeavor on planet Earth and that they have to do it as best as is humanly possible for the survival of the species and the planet itself.  We can bicker and bitch and politic and threaten and pray and destroy till the damn proverbial cows come home, but science has to rise above it all or we are doomed.  It is the only pureness of purpose on the planet.   :knight:  :cheers:
James J

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #684

You are trying to convince yourself of something that is not there and so you are merely deluding yourself...

How do you know? As far as I can tell, I never tried to convince myself of anything. I simply figured things out, so the questions would stop bothering me.


I believe that science knows...

Ah, you "believe". This is the difference between us. You are a man of faith. I never was.

  • jseaton2311
  • [*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #685
How do you know? As far as I can tell, I never tried to convince myself of anything. I simply figured things out, so the questions would stop bothering me.

You convince yourself of something microsecond after microsecond--so I am not talking about coercion or delusion sir.  You have not been exactly sure about god from the beginning, but somehow you have convinced yourself with your own brand of logic. 

This is not a bad thing ersi and i won't try to convince you otherwise from this point forward (and that is a lie).  The belief in deities has muddled the minds of men for long enough.  It is time for humans to grow up, put on their game-face and consider that science is the answer to anything anyone can ask.  Forget the impressions you received from your youthful and polluted (mindwise) environment (if you can--and I think you can).  Moreover, don't look to god to soothe yourself from any suffering...soothe your own suffering through meditation. 

Quote from: jseaton2311 on 2015-05-19, 03:30:31I believe that science knows...
Ah, you "believe". This is the difference between us. You are a man of faith. I never was.

Taking things out of context is so beneath you Eric. 
James J

  • OakdaleFTL
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #686
It is time for humans to grow up, put on their game-face and consider that science is the answer to anything anyone can ask.
It's been considered. Only the dolts have accepted that...
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #687
This of course applies to atheists too. (materialist/physicalist/naturalist) Atheists stress down-to-earth factuality and logical rigour to promote critical thinking. This works very well for them when criticising any point of view, except when it comes to criticising their own point of view. For example, mind-reading is supposed to not exist, because the mind as a non-physical entity cannot exist, because everything is physical and that's it. However, logically this means that thoughts, memories, dreams, imagination etc. are physically in the brain and neuroscientists, when they study the brain, should be able to directly see those things, i.e. neuroscientists should be mind-readers. Somehow logic, which serves atheists so well otherwise, is lost to them on this point.

Your false equivocation of telepathy and thought identification through neuroimaging says nothing of interest about atheists one way or the other. You're also reading my mind through these very words, yet mind reading almost certainly doesn't exist. Such a glaring contradiction in that last sentence...

The lesson I draw from this is that self-criticism should always be a more acute concern than criticism. And truth should never be compromised. Never as in never.

Aka the outsider test. What a scam. ;)

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #688

The lesson I draw from this is that self-criticism should always be a more acute concern than criticism. And truth should never be compromised. Never as in never.

Aka the outsider test. What a scam. ;)

Of course you know I examined the outsider test with precisely this in mind: Does it do the work of self-criticism or not? I found it lacking for the reasons given.


Edit: I was trying to consider properly my response to the rest of your post too, but to no avail:


Your false equivocation of telepathy and thought identification through neuroimaging says nothing of interest...

My false equivocation? I explicitly attributed the equivocation to neuroscientists. You are not disputing that they have this view, instead you - falsely - assume it's my view. So, nothing of interest here indeed... unless you reject the equivocation and thus, logically, also reject phrenological presuppositions by which neuroscientists operate, leaving nothing with which to object to my (actual) view.

  • Last Edit: 2015-05-29, 12:36:24 by ersi

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #689
My false equivocation? I explicitly attributed the equivocation to neuroscientists. You are not disputing that they have this view, instead you - falsely - assume it's my view.

Who's doing the obvious (and purposeful?) misinterpreting of the ambiguity in the term "mind reading" here? I rather doubt it's any neuroscientists -- assuming they've used the term at all. The rest of what you wrote is pure gobbledygook. You're the one who's equivocating...

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #690

Who's doing the obvious (and purposeful?) misinterpreting of the ambiguity in the term "mind reading" here? I rather doubt it's any neuroscientists -- assuming they've used the term at all. The rest of what you wrote is pure gobbledygook. You're the one who's equivocating...

E.g. Sam Harris is supposed to be a neuroscientist. (Didn't see this coming, did you?) I agree, he is "pure gobbledygook" as you say. It's not my doing, but based on some real neuroscientists I have taken a closer look at.

Anyway, to make it completely fair, pick a specific neuroscientist of your own preference, and I will look if any different interpretation of these issues can be obtained. Make your pick relevant - someone who studies brains and has opinions on the nature of perception/consciousness.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #691
Even without having read anything the man wrote on the matter, I can say with utmost confidence that Sam Harris does not equivocate telepathy and neuroimaging. If he said mind reading doesn't exist he obviously wouldn't have meant that neuroimaging doesn't exist. My only worry is whether I somehow failed to apply the principle of charity in deciding that you consistently fail to apply it to Sam Harris.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #692

The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief

We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure signal changes in the brains of thirty subjects--fifteen committed Christians and fifteen nonbelievers--as they evaluated the truth and falsity of religious and nonreligious propositions. For both groups, and in both categories of stimuli, belief (judgments of "true" vs judgments of "false") was associated with greater signal in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area important for self-representation [3], [4], [5], [6], emotional associations [7], reward [8], [9], [10], and goal-driven behavior [11].

This is precisely what I mean by phrenological presuppositions and this is what they do. They scan people's brains to determine whether they are religious or not. And, whatever you mean by charity, you should know by now how far Harris has taken this idea.

Now's the turn of some other neuroscientist.

Edit: And a point of clarification - we are not talking about telepathy. Instead, I said "mind-reading", and there's a technical difference.

Telepathy is transference of thoughts, e.g. I want you to think/feel this or that, so I generate the corresponding idea in myself and transfer it to you. Whereas mind-reading is me seeing directly into your mind, reading your thoughts, ideas, memories, not implanting something extraneous. It's a pretty important difference, like the difference between reading and writing.

By phrenological presuppositions I mean that neuroscientists think they can detect some contents of memory/ideas in specific parts of the brain regardless if the subject knows it or not - a.k.a. mind-reading. Now, this is not scientifically confirmed (and, on my own presuppositions, never will be), but neuroscientists operate under these presuppositions anyway. Without these presuppositions, a title like "The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief" would be impossible.

Now find me a neuroscientist who is free of these presuppositions.
  • Last Edit: 2015-05-29, 15:31:35 by ersi

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #693
This is precisely what I mean by phrenological presuppositions and this is what they do. They scan people's brains to determine whether they are religious or not. And, whatever you mean by charity, you should know by now how far Harris has taken this idea.

I know that I see no similarity to your earlier description.

Edit: And a point of clarification - we are not talking about telepathy. Instead, I said "mind-reading", and there's a technical difference.

Telepathy is transference of thoughts, e.g. I want you to think/feel this or that, so I generate the corresponding idea in myself and transfer it to you. Whereas mind-reading is me seeing directly into your mind, reading your thoughts, ideas, memories, not implanting something extraneous. It's a pretty important difference, like the difference between reading and writing.

I'm not sure I agree with that definition, but it's not important. When I said telepathy I simply meant something not involving (known) physics. Then again, telepathy could in principle easily exist within the confines of naturalism. We have plenty of types of radiation available.

By phrenological presuppositions I mean that neuroscientists think they can detect some contents of memory/ideas in specific parts of the brain regardless if the subject knows it or not - a.k.a. mind-reading. Now, this is not scientifically confirmed (and, on my own presuppositions, never will be), but neuroscientists operate under these presuppositions anyway. Without these presuppositions, a title like "The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief" would be impossible.
What do you mean by "regardless if the subject knows it or not"? You think the brain functions in a completely different way outside of fMRIs?

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #694

I know that I see no similarity to your earlier description.

My earlier statement was this: "...logically this means that thoughts, memories, dreams, imagination etc. are physically in the brain and neuroscientists, when they study the brain, should be able to directly see those things, i.e. neuroscientists should be mind-readers."

And now I say this: "They scan people's brains to determine whether they are religious or not."

What is unsimilar?


I'm not sure I agree with that definition, but it's not important. When I said telepathy I simply meant something not involving (known) physics. Then again, telepathy could in principle easily exist within the confines of naturalism. We have plenty of types of radiation available.

Well, this simply shows how little you care about things of the mind. Surely you would laugh me away if I mixed up physical reading and writing, but this is precisely how mind-reading and telepathy differ, and you are insisting we should mix them up. I say that the work of neuroscientists, given their presuppositions, implies mind-reading, and I say mind-reading precisely because this is what I mean, not telepathy.



What do you mean by "regardless if the subject knows it or not"? You think the brain functions in a completely different way outside of fMRIs?

Oh. When I was writing it, I hesitated for a moment if I should have included that bit. Now you picked it up, the least relevant phrase. How would you answer if it didn't exist? Because, for the time being, my assumptions don't matter here. The assumptions of the neuroscientists matter.

(I'm not taking it back. It's just that it's not too relevant here. Obviously, what "regardless if the subject knows it or not" means is just what it says. For example, you have done something, say placed some screws somewhere, then you forgot where you placed them. Since you placed them, there should be a memory of it somewhere, in the brain or in the hand, yet you don't remember. Then at some moment you suddenly remember again. On physicalist assumptions, the memory should have been physically inside the subject all along, yet the subject is unaware of it for a time. Now forget all about this and try answering. And find me the kind of neuroscientist that I asked for, too.)

  • OakdaleFTL
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #695
Surely you would laugh me away if I mixed up physical reading and writing, but this is precisely how mind-reading and telepathy differ, and you are insisting we should mix them up. I say that the work of neuroscientists, given their presuppositions, implies mind-reading, and I say mind-reading precisely because this is what I mean, not telepathy.
Telepathy would be hearing/speaking -- without a known physical medium supporting such. Mind-reading would be hearing, without the other speaking -- similarly.

fMRI studies of the sort Harris performs elide the essential statistical manipulations made, to get to the political or sociological  or psychological point that drives the questionnaires. These are what these studies' conclusions depend upon; just your average opinion polls, dressed up in unsupportable scientistic window dressing...
The technique has some promise for diagnostic medicine. If it isn't totally discredited by what ersi correctly terms a form of phrenology.

So: If Harris' pseudoscience doesn't work, does Chomsky's various conspiracy theories? :)

We're back to square one, I believe. (What do you "observe," ersi? :) )
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #696

Surely you would laugh me away if I mixed up physical reading and writing, but this is precisely how mind-reading and telepathy differ, and you are insisting we should mix them up. I say that the work of neuroscientists, given their presuppositions, implies mind-reading, and I say mind-reading precisely because this is what I mean, not telepathy.
Telepathy would be hearing/speaking -- without a known physical medium supporting such. Mind-reading would be hearing, without the other speaking -- similarly.

Sorry to quibble with your definitions, but you are losing all the important nuances here, reductionist as you are.

Telepathy is like writing. What is important is the one who writes. The paper is not so important, even though the writing obviously ends up on something like paper. Please pay attention and take the point of view of the writer. In telepathy, one thinks of stuff to suggest and then one suggests it to another. It's like hypnosis but with the important distinction that there's sympathy, mutually willing rapport, not just one-way rapport like in hypnosis. In telepathy, both/all of the participants are writers for each other.

And now forget all about telepathy, because this is not what I was talking about.

Mind-reading is more like seeing (really, reading), not hearing. Here it's rather important where one reads from and how. In reading, the book and its message are important.


So: If Harris' pseudoscience doesn't work, does Chomsky's various conspiracy theories? :)

There are conspiracy theories and there are conspiracy facts. To prove that Chomsky is just theorising, refute his facts. Should be easy peasy for you, at least in theory :)

  • OakdaleFTL
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #697
Telepathy is like writing. What is important is the one who writes.
Our disagreement here stems from our different languages; not our understanding, I think. In English (and especially English science fiction for more than three quarters of a century) the term "telepathy" involves mutual communication -- by no mode known to our science... If you have a different literature, sobeit. But I can't think of any reason you'd think your provincial understanding should be taken as standard, beyond egotism...
Talk to more people, ersi. Your facility with English is exceptional! But your predilection for uninformed argument is a sore spot in your psyche that will turn cankerous if you don't take care!

You can maintain your argument if you also say that speaking is the same as telepathy... And hearing is only the paper, so to speak! :) Don't -I beg you- be such an ass!
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #698

Telepathy is like writing. What is important is the one who writes.
Our disagreement here stems from our different languages; not our understanding, I think. In English (and especially English science fiction for more than three quarters of a century) the term "telepathy" involves mutual communication -- by no mode known to our science...

And when you say telepathy is communication ("by no mode known to our science") and you add nothing else, you are losing how it differs from hypnosis and from mind-reading.

These distinctions are not "provincial". They are central to the matter at hand!

  • OakdaleFTL
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: The Awesomesauce with Religion
Reply #699
To prove that Chomsky is just theorising, refute his facts.
Our system of justice is new to this "guilty until proven innocent" style of Justice... You'll forgive me if I'm somewhat behind the curve...
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof..." is a maxim you might have heard before? Chomsky's facts are his emotional reactions to everything he doesn't like... (Excepting his sources of income.) I'd not consider a refutation of his arguments -- because he doesn't make any: He lists people and institutions that he doesn't like. He's entitled to not like them.
You're entitled to follow him blindly.
But you're not entitled to claim he's made any argument against anything other than "You're not Noam Chomsky1"

You are not Noam Chomsky, are you? :)
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
No one listens to me as much as I do and even I have my limits...
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman