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Author Topic: Atheist movie coming out in New York and Los Angeles  (Read 3016 times)
True Federalist
Ernest
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« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2011, 05:22:47 pm »
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Yes, I'm disagreeing that secular societies are better than religious ones.

By definition that means you support (using modern definitions) societies based on religious (usually one religion) principles enshrined in law over secular societies that do not have religiously inspired law.

So Iran over Denmark. Are you quite sure?

Not all.  I'm denying that it has been shown that there is an order relationship for betterness based on degree of religiousity, not that it is the reverse.  Are some secular societies better some religious ones yes, but ...

So North Korea over Bhutan.  Are you quite sure?

Indeed, even North Korea over Iran.  Are you really quite sure?
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2011, 05:50:50 pm »
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I didn't say all cases, I said most cases.

Err, sorry, when I said "all cases" I was referring to the cases you were talking about for acceptance, not the cases in which harm is done.

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I think actively promoting one's views, shoving them down peoples' throats is generally speaking a bad idea.

Promotion of views and shoving them down people's throats are not necessarily the same thing. A free society ought to encourage people to promote and state their views so that healthy debate can occur.

Quote
Certain religious people can at least claim that they have to because people will go to hell if they fail. But atheists don't really have any particularly good reason to do so, even given their own beliefs.

Atheists have plenty of good reasons to promote their views, you just may not particularly agree with those reasons. I think this article explains how many atheists generally feel about the subject, if you're interested:

http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/PromoteAtheism.htm

And if you've got 15 minutes, this video also might give some perspective:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAuFJKQh83Y

Quote
As to the discussion at hand, from what I recall of opinion polls made in Europe, religious people are more tolerant than non-religious people (except for when it comes to homosexuals, for obvious reasons).

I can't seem to find those polls - I would be interested in seeing them if you can find them.

On that note, I know that some comparisons of living standards show that countries that are less religious tend to be better off. (your own country being reported as the least religious)

http://www.gadling.com/2007/08/23/least-religious-countries/
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/15/interactive-infographic-of-the-worlds-best-countries.html
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« Reply #52 on: July 12, 2011, 06:11:28 pm »
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So North Korea over Bhutan.  Are you quite sure?

Indeed, even North Korea over Iran.  Are you really quite sure?

I wouldn't exactly consider North Korea a good example of a secular country. It's kind of in a weird place - sure, it's not officially their religion, but worship of Kim Jong-Il seems to be actively promoted by the state. And I'm not talking like celebrity worship. In North Korean schools they literally teach that his birth was marked by a double rainbow and a bright star in the sky and that apparently he does not defecate or urinate like a normal human being. They make the man out to be a demi-god - it's why many consider North Korea the world's largest cult.

http://www.11points.com/news-politics/11_craziest_kim_jong-il_moments

In addition, North Korea is officially atheist, and as such can't be considered secular. They also have a number of state controlled religious organizations, which an actual secular government could not have.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_North_Korea
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« Reply #53 on: July 12, 2011, 09:59:29 pm »
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So basically, it is the actions done in God's name that is the what you have issue with?

If someone wishes to act in the name of God, Allah, Zeus, Ra, Amaterasu, Baʿal, or any of the other hosts of deities that people have worshiped throughout history and it does no undue imposition on others who disagree with them then I have little problem outside of thinking they would have better uses for their time. It's when they do cause undue imposition that I have a problem, regardless of whether or not it's done in someone's name.

...unless it's for Thor, then it's ok.

I think that is a fair outlook on things.  However, I am not sure it that needs to be framed in the religious context.  You can replace those deities with a host of other words and still have it be correct. Further, I think even the extent to which religion influences society or the other way around is open for debate. There are vast differences between the way the same religions are practiced throughout the world. The pre-existing society is usually a good indicator of how that will be practiced.
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afleitch
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« Reply #54 on: July 13, 2011, 03:33:31 am »
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As to the discussion at hand, from what I recall of opinion polls made in Europe, religious people are more tolerant than non-religious people (except for when it comes to homosexuals, for obvious reasons).

You probably should back that up. I think some EU surveys can be found on Eurostat(?)/European Social Survey. In any event there is the government sponsored British Social Attitudes Survey running from 1980 and the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (who seem to make their results more public) The SSAS reports every 4 years on Attitudes to Discrimination with surveys in 2002, 2006 and 2010. The 2010 data has still to be released.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/205755/0054714.pdf

In order to define 'religious' and 'non religious' it split the data into those 'Who attended religious services at least once a week' (229 from the sample) and Those who attended 'practically never/no religion' (955 of the sample)

On a sample question; 'Would be “unhappy”/ “very unhappy” if lose relativemarried/long-termr’ship with…'

The response to each of the options was as follows - 'Religious' v 'Non Religious'

Someone who had a sex change operation 58-46
Asylum seeker 33-38
Gypsy Traveller 41-34
Same sex 52-27
Muslim 29-23
Hindu 26-17
Learning Disability 21-14
Black/Asian 13-19
Chinese 12-9
Jewish 11-10

With the exception of 'asylum seeker' and 'black/asian' those who are religious score lower on the SSAS 'attitudes to discrimination' than those who are 'non religious'. The differences on most (with exception of same sex) are not vast; but they are there. There's alot of other information in the sub sets.

EDIT

Just for comparison the 2002 survey report used the figures in a different way and gave a breakdown by religion (as people who vonsider themselves religious may not attend any services)

Male same-sex relationships 'always wrong'

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 39%, Roman Catholic 29%, No Religion 20%

Would 'mind inter-racial marriage'

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 23%, Roman Catholic 15%, No Religion 12%

Ethnic minorities 'take jobs'

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 23%, Roman Catholic 14%, No Religion 10%

A mans job is to earn money, a woman's is to be at home

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 15%, Roman Catholic 14%, No Religion 8%

Scotland should 'do all it can to eliminate predjudice'

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 64%, Roman Catholic 71%, No Religion 72%

« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 05:23:03 am by afleitch »Logged

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« Reply #55 on: July 13, 2011, 07:04:12 pm »
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So basically, it is the actions done in God's name that is the what you have issue with?

If someone wishes to act in the name of God, Allah, Zeus, Ra, Amaterasu, Baʿal, or any of the other hosts of deities that people have worshiped throughout history and it does no undue imposition on others who disagree with them then I have little problem outside of thinking they would have better uses for their time. It's when they do cause undue imposition that I have a problem, regardless of whether or not it's done in someone's name.

...unless it's for Thor, then it's ok.

I think that is a fair outlook on things.  However, I am not sure it that needs to be framed in the religious context.  You can replace those deities with a host of other words and still have it be correct.

Yes, you can replace the deities in some cases - but there's a significant number of cases where you can't, and in some cases where you can the belief in the deity worsens things. For instance, someone may dislike gays, but they wouldn't necessarily find justification to stone gays if they didn't have the religious dogma.

As to framing it in a religious context, I only frame it in a religious context when religion is involved.

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Further, I think even the extent to which religion influences society or the other way around is open for debate. There are vast differences between the way the same religions are practiced throughout the world. The pre-existing society is usually a good indicator of how that will be practiced.

Again, my argument is not that religions are all the same. My argument has to do with the similar feature they all seem to share - the belief in something for which there is no evidence, or faith as it is otherwise known.

As I have said before, beliefs inform actions, and generally speaking it would seem to me that if you take actions based on false beliefs you're more likely to do harm, be it to yourself or to others. On the other hand, taking actions based on true beliefs would generally prove to be positive. (unless for some reason you're trying to do harm, in which case you'd probably cause more harm if you do it on true beliefs, but I would like to think most people don't want to do harm) Evidence based approaches, such as the scientific method, are far more likely to tell you whether or something is true or not. Faith on the other hand can't boast that, and there are many people who reject evidence when it contradicts their faith, so I find that faith based actions are more likely to be based on beliefs that are false and therefore more likely to cause harm.
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« Reply #56 on: July 14, 2011, 07:46:48 am »

I didn't say all cases, I said most cases.

Err, sorry, when I said "all cases" I was referring to the cases you were talking about for acceptance, not the cases in which harm is done.

Quote
I think actively promoting one's views, shoving them down peoples' throats is generally speaking a bad idea.

Promotion of views and shoving them down people's throats are not necessarily the same thing. A free society ought to encourage people to promote and state their views so that healthy debate can occur.

Quote
Certain religious people can at least claim that they have to because people will go to hell if they fail. But atheists don't really have any particularly good reason to do so, even given their own beliefs.

Atheists have plenty of good reasons to promote their views, you just may not particularly agree with those reasons. I think this article explains how many atheists generally feel about the subject, if you're interested:

http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/PromoteAtheism.htm

And if you've got 15 minutes, this video also might give some perspective:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAuFJKQh83Y

Quote
As to the discussion at hand, from what I recall of opinion polls made in Europe, religious people are more tolerant than non-religious people (except for when it comes to homosexuals, for obvious reasons).

I can't seem to find those polls - I would be interested in seeing them if you can find them.

On that note, I know that some comparisons of living standards show that countries that are less religious tend to be better off. (your own country being reported as the least religious)

http://www.gadling.com/2007/08/23/least-religious-countries/
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/15/interactive-infographic-of-the-worlds-best-countries.html
Oh, I'm for free debate, it's more a question of how one should use it. That is, this is not a legal issue but a more personal one. Deep-seated beliefs wher nothing can  be proven and where being proven right has no obvious benefits aren't really good subjects for debate, imo. Let's put it this way - you discussing the existence of God with an evangelical, with both of you trying to convince the other that you're right is unlikely to lead to either of you changing your mind. It's more likely to lead to you both nudging a bit closer to wanting to kill the other guy. Therefore I think it's better to just accept the difference there and move on. Focus on issues where progress can be made.

I didn't have 15 minutes (I'm at work) but I did read the article. That's all very well, but it seems to me that he precisely does not come to promoting atheism in the way we're talking about here. It's always a good idea to promote open and critical thinking. That's not what, say, this movie seems to eb about or instance.

As regards the empirics, this is something we read as handouts in high school - so I'm afraid I have no links to offer. Smiley If you don't want to believe me, I guess I can understand that. It was Europe based so I think it might have been a Eurostat thing, although I'm noit entirely sure.

Finally, of course secularism is linked to general progress, that is a well-known fact. That kind of data might be over-aggreageted though. I recall that when the former Swedish government tried to take credit for on esuch study showing Sweeds as the happiest people in the world, it was pointed out that religion was one of the few significant explanatory variables for happiness (with money being the other, IIRC).

That is, even though secular societies do better than religious ones, religious people within those societies tend to be happier.

My conclusion from this is that atheists definitely ought to fight vigorously for religious freedom (or the freedom to be non-religious) and safe-guard the secular aspects of society. But to go on beyond that and fight religion as a phenomenon in civil society is something that I view as a bad approach.
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« Reply #57 on: July 14, 2011, 07:52:35 am »

As to the discussion at hand, from what I recall of opinion polls made in Europe, religious people are more tolerant than non-religious people (except for when it comes to homosexuals, for obvious reasons).

You probably should back that up. I think some EU surveys can be found on Eurostat(?)/European Social Survey. In any event there is the government sponsored British Social Attitudes Survey running from 1980 and the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (who seem to make their results more public) The SSAS reports every 4 years on Attitudes to Discrimination with surveys in 2002, 2006 and 2010. The 2010 data has still to be released.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/205755/0054714.pdf

In order to define 'religious' and 'non religious' it split the data into those 'Who attended religious services at least once a week' (229 from the sample) and Those who attended 'practically never/no religion' (955 of the sample)

On a sample question; 'Would be “unhappy”/ “very unhappy” if lose relativemarried/long-termr’ship with…'

The response to each of the options was as follows - 'Religious' v 'Non Religious'

Someone who had a sex change operation 58-46
Asylum seeker 33-38
Gypsy Traveller 41-34
Same sex 52-27
Muslim 29-23
Hindu 26-17
Learning Disability 21-14
Black/Asian 13-19
Chinese 12-9
Jewish 11-10

With the exception of 'asylum seeker' and 'black/asian' those who are religious score lower on the SSAS 'attitudes to discrimination' than those who are 'non religious'. The differences on most (with exception of same sex) are not vast; but they are there. There's alot of other information in the sub sets.

EDIT

Just for comparison the 2002 survey report used the figures in a different way and gave a breakdown by religion (as people who vonsider themselves religious may not attend any services)

Male same-sex relationships 'always wrong'

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 39%, Roman Catholic 29%, No Religion 20%

Would 'mind inter-racial marriage'

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 23%, Roman Catholic 15%, No Religion 12%

Ethnic minorities 'take jobs'

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 23%, Roman Catholic 14%, No Religion 10%

A mans job is to earn money, a woman's is to be at home

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 15%, Roman Catholic 14%, No Religion 8%

Scotland should 'do all it can to eliminate predjudice'

Church of Scotland/Presbyterian 64%, Roman Catholic 71%, No Religion 72%



As I said to Dibble, I never saw these electronically and it's been over 5 years, but I think it might have been a eurostat one.. I can't swear on what categories were included - it sort of make sense that religious people might be more negative to other religious people but that might not have been included in the poll I read. I remember it had ethnic minorities and the poll you cite seem to indicate that religious people might be more tolerant towards ethnic minorities.
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« Reply #58 on: July 14, 2011, 10:26:29 am »
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As I said to Dibble, I never saw these electronically and it's been over 5 years, but I think it might have been a eurostat one.. I can't swear on what categories were included - it sort of make sense that religious people might be more negative to other religious people but that might not have been included in the poll I read. I remember it had ethnic minorities and the poll you cite seem to indicate that religious people might be more tolerant towards ethnic minorities.

I don't understand where you are coming from.

What I posted was two surveys where the metadata had been measured by 'religious attendance; and by 'self identified religion' for government monitoring purposes. In most of the examples those who attended religious services regularly and/or adhered to a religion held less socially progressive/tolerant positions than those who were not religious. And Scotland is a broadly secular society. So 23% of people who were of the Church of Scotland stated they had a problem with interracial marriage but only 12% of those who had no religious faith had a similar problem.
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« Reply #59 on: July 14, 2011, 02:13:14 pm »

As I said to Dibble, I never saw these electronically and it's been over 5 years, but I think it might have been a eurostat one.. I can't swear on what categories were included - it sort of make sense that religious people might be more negative to other religious people but that might not have been included in the poll I read. I remember it had ethnic minorities and the poll you cite seem to indicate that religious people might be more tolerant towards ethnic minorities.

I don't understand where you are coming from.

What I posted was two surveys where the metadata had been measured by 'religious attendance; and by 'self identified religion' for government monitoring purposes. In most of the examples those who attended religious services regularly and/or adhered to a religion held less socially progressive/tolerant positions than those who were not religious. And Scotland is a broadly secular society. So 23% of people who were of the Church of Scotland stated they had a problem with interracial marriage but only 12% of those who had no religious faith had a similar problem.

I just tried to explain where much of that difference might stem from. The second poll you cite seems to be a more unambigious refutation of what I said though, that's true. It's hard to compare since I don't remember the details of how religion was defined in the poll I saw, for instance.
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« Reply #60 on: July 17, 2011, 11:34:43 am »
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This was a week ago, so a detailed reply would be slightly weird. So I'll go straight to the heart of the matter:

To be clear I'm not trying to oversimplify history.

I don't think I really made that accusation. My complaint is directed at reductionism and all that follows from that (including potentially 'over-simplification', but that's really not the main issue) such as presentism. A prime example would be this:

Quote
And speaking of the Nazis, where do you think the anti-semetism that they used to get to power came from?

Now, it happens that the passage contains several glaring historical inaccuracies, but it would be problematic even if that were not the case. The problem is that you are trying to reduce  complicated events and processes to their so-called 'roots', with the intention of using these 'roots' to make comments about the present. Leaving aside the obvious issues there (which are massive enough), in order to do that you have to make selections. With selection comes bias (it's unavoidable). So you are, essentially, only looking at the past in order to cherry-pick whatever information (inevitably minus any meaningful context) you happen to be looking for in order to bolster the cause that you are arguing on behalf of in the present. The roots of anti-semitism in Europe (as if we could ever uncover them!) are completely irrelevant to understanding anti-semitism in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. And so on and so forth, for ever and ever, etc, etc, amen.
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