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How do we slay the dragon?
#11
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
(June 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm)Pickup_shonuff Wrote: These are great suggestions, but what about on a more practical, individual level? What can I do? (Not being in a position of recognized "teacher" or "expert" on anything.)

I don't know. I have unconverted a few friends. But I think they were headed that way generally. In both cases, it happened because I was reading about the Bible: how the contextualists have dated it's various parts; the political motivations inherent in it; and the lack of historical corroboration; the new slant that what corroboration there is shows on the text. But I was talking about it as interesting information, not as here is why you should believe in this ancient book. I think this is why seminaries tend to cause atheism in some of their students. But to go at it this way you really do need to have an interest in and read about the Bible.

The same thing might be done with science. Get excited about evolution, and read up. Talk about parts you find fascinating.

This is just a thought, and I have no proof it works. But one of the annoyances of my life as an at home mom (abet one with a part time business) and well behaved, well read kids, is that Christian mothers assume that I am a really good Christan mom and perhaps even home-schooled the girls at some point. That we have almost every dinner as a family and that I cook those dinners adds to this perception. It startles them when I answer the question, "which church do you attend?" with, "we don't because we are atheists." But they don't shun us. I think just being obviously a reasonably good person and openly atheist is helpful.
If there is a god, I want to believe that there is a god.  If there is not a god, I want to believe that there is no god.
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#12
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
(June 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm)Pickup_shonuff Wrote: Here we are, facing this monster, the rational among us realizing that physical threat or coercion would only strengthen the monster and fuse ourselves to it, yet at the same time, realizing that the dragon is completely immune to reasoned argument. Or is it just very stubborn, and will reasoned argument eventually slay the dragon? I can't see that happening. Human beings are generally too dumb.

Did you see that video in another topic about cognition and God? See Post #19

Humans aren't generally too dumb for their dragons to be slain by reasoned argument - it's the way our brains operate.

(June 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm)Pickup_shonuff Wrote: How do we slay the dragon?

Maybe religion is just one expression of the real dragon at work. What makes people fanatical about ideologies which have nothing to do with religion?

(June 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm)Jenny A Wrote: I have several suggestions:

1) Better science education in the public schools. Fundamentalist are quite right to feel threatened by it. If you really study evolution you can't help but conclude that it exists. If you really study geology, you can't help but believe in an ancient earth. The list goes on.

Scientists can be religious. Francis Collins who led the Human Genome Project is an Evangelical Christian - he understands evolution and believes it's the way God did it. Millions of other Christians accept the age of the universe and evolution. They just adapt science to fit their beliefs.

“Creation: Big Bang, or what?”

Quote:So, how would God describe the stages of His creation to semi-nomadic herdsmen? How would you?

Big Bang: The First Day

So the first 'day', the first stage of creation was "Let there be light". And there was the biggest blaze of light the universe has ever seen, in the massive explosion of the Big Bang. What a wonderful description; what a wonderful picture the Big Bang event creates in the mind's eye!

(June 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm)Jenny A Wrote: 2) Teach comparative religion classes as part of history or social studies. Nothing like knowing about all the other options in the salad bar that is theism to inoculate you against any particular one. Teaching one of the dead ones we know something about like the Ancient Egyptian's beliefs wouldn't hurt either. The multiplicity of choices shows up the arbitrariness of any particular choice.

I've been interested in comparative religion and mythology since I was a child. It didn't take long before I decided that all these different beliefs were just beliefs. There's no guarantee that this approach will work for everyone, though. A comparative religion course could result in somebody converting to a religion they wouldn't have heard about without the course. Why? Because they feel that Religion X is the right one.

(June 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm)Jenny A Wrote: 3) Teach meditation. It provides much of what many people get from prayer without the god part.

This could be very helpful along with an introduction to neuroscience explaining what is happening in the brain.

(June 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm)Jenny A Wrote: 4) Provide the same tax breaks for charitable social groups that provide a church like sense of community as we do for churches. Alternatively and better, take away the tax exempt status of churches.

This won't stop people from believing.
Badger Badger Badger Badger Where are the snake and mushroom smilies?
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#13
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
(June 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm)Confused Ape Wrote: Maybe religion is just one expression of the real dragon at work. What makes people fanatical about ideologies which have nothing to do with religion?

Good question. I'm inclined to think a general lack of self-respect, misinformation, credulity enhanced by an ignorance of scientific and humanistic thinking, among other things, leads to more fanaticism. Interestingly, those few things I suggested describe all of the major orthodox faiths--from Christianity to Communism.
He who loves God cannot endeavour that God should love him in return - Baruch Spinoza
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#14
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
I think porn is the best way... and the internet has helped a lot with that! Wink
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#15
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
@ pocaracus [edited]

1) Yes some scientists are Christians, but the percentage is much, much, much smaller. And there are essentially no fundamentalist scientists.

2) I doubt anyone picks a new religion out of a comparative religion course. Certainly fewer than those who notice that one's they don't subscribe to are silly.

4) Many people are reluctant to let go of the church because of the support aspects. Having a ready alternative would be helpful to fence sitters.

No magic bullets, but what do what for nothing?
If there is a god, I want to believe that there is a god.  If there is not a god, I want to believe that there is no god.
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#16
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
(June 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm)Jenny A Wrote: @ porcaracus

Who's that guy?

(June 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm)Jenny A Wrote: 1) Yes some scientists are Christians, but the percentage is much, much, much smaller. And there are essentially no fundamentalist scientists.
Depends on how far you're willing to take the definition on scientist.... Some actually work for the creation museum.

(June 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm)Jenny A Wrote: 2) I doubt anyone picks a new religion out of a comparative religion course. Certainly fewer than those who notice that one's they don't subscribe to are silly.
There's always someone...

(June 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm)Jenny A Wrote: 4) Many people are reluctant to let go of the church because of the support aspects. Having a ready alternative would be helpful to fence sitters.
Agreed... But atheists are like cats and not easily herded...

(June 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm)Jenny A Wrote: No magic bullets, but what do what for nothing?
Just carry on...
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#17
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
(June 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm)whateverist Wrote: Lay people become more and more estranged from the technical expertise of its experts.

You can see this with the direction Apple has taken and Microsoft is starting to take. "Everything is so seamless, I don't even have to think to hook my computer to my fridge so it'll put a message on my TV and my phone that I need to buy milk." It was but a short time ago that you had to have actual knowledge of how a computer worked to be able to use one. Even more recently, you had to have some knowledge to be able to set up a computer network. With the technology available today, the below average intellects of the world can now set up a multi-computer home network and use their technology to get on-line and proclaim to the world how dumb they are.

"Slaying the dragon" under these circumstances would seem impossible. Like Jenny A, I think the only hope is in education. Along with her suggestions I would suggest that we raise the bar for education. Both at the primary and secondary levels. The "No Child Left Behind" act has become the "Every Child Will Be Dragged Through the System Whether They Deserve to Graduate or Not" act. Kids are routinely passed to the next level with failing grades but high self esteem. George Carlin spoke great wisdom when he said our children are being deprived of a great motivational and character building tool when we quit telling them "Ya lost, Johnny!"

I think there are four things that have to happen in our schools.

First: As I said previously raise the bar. Increase the minimums for passing to the next level. Also, require anyone who wants to teach to earn a teaching degree. If you want to home school, you better think ahead!

Second: Quit teaching that it's ok to be ignorant. Self esteem should be taught at home. It's not the school's job.

Third: Quit teaching to the lowest common denominator. Some kids just won't get it no matter what you do for them. Move these kids into classes where their constant lack of understanding isn't dragging the rest down with them. Yes, I understand that many kids wind up in a bad situation because of a lack of opportunity, not a lack of understanding or intelligence and that leads to my fourth point.

Fourth: Fully and properly fund education at the primary and secondary level. Teachers should never be using science books 10-20 years out of date yet it's a common occurrence in our public schools. An associates degree should be there for anyone who wants to, and is intellectually able to continue their education. A Bachelor's, Masters or even a Doctoral degree should not be out of financial reach of anyone capable of achieving one, nor should they create an untenable financial burden for the new graduate.
Thief and assassin for hire. Member in good standing of the Rogues Guild.
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#18
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
In America at least, you don't need a degree in science to teach science. Just a teaching qualification.
If America is 90% religious, how many science teachers actually believe what they are teaching.

Richard Dawkins spoke of doctor who was religious and believed the world was 6000 years old.
Would you want this doctor playing around inside your gizzards?
No God, No fear.
Know God, Know fear.
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#19
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
Education, of women specifically. The education of girls tends to improve a region socially and economically 3 or 4 fold than simply educating boys, which is probably why most religions seek in inhibit the role and power of women in given societies. Perhaps why the Taliban are so insistent that girls not receive any education for example as it would be a threat to their indoctrination processes.

Also the free flow of information. For centuries the Christian clergy relies on their understanding of Latin and the ignorance of the laity towards the bible as a way of disseminating the message they wanted to hear. The advent of vernacular bibles allowed the information to flow, along with the inevitable questions and schisms. Multiply this 10 fold for today where the internet allows censorship to be easily bypassed at the click of a button.

Increased social mobility and economic independence tends to lead to less religious societies (the west vs third world countries in Africa and South America). It is not unreasonable to assume that religions have more of a foothold in poorer societies where there is more poverty and more desperation.

But 100% the education of girls, though it is doubtful that religion could ever be fully discarded.
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#20
RE: How do we slay the dragon?
(June 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm)whateverist Wrote: It is hard to see how the human race will ever get smarter. The advances in science are carried out by extreme specialists. Lay people become more and more estranged from the technical expertise of its experts.

It's been the same throughout history. Only a tiny percentage of the population of any given civilisation were mathematicians, astronomers, architects or philosophers etc. Everyone else was working to keep the civilisation going.

How much would Plato have achieved if he'd had to grow his own food, make his own clothes through the processes of spinning and weaving to get cloth, build his own house starting with making bricks and quarrying stone, making all his own home furnishings and doing all the housework etc. etc.?

How much would our extreme specialists in science achieve if they didn't have lowly lay people working to keep them in equipment let alone anything else? "I need a microscope." The scientist is given a map where they can obtain the raw materials for making metal and glass and told to get on with it.

(June 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm)whateverist Wrote: Popular culture doesn't value academics or reflection. I see very little reason for hope. Certainly there is no evolutionary vehicle for selecting for smarter.

I found a very interesting video by Ken Robinson

Quote:Sir Kenneth Robinson (born 4 March 1950) is an English author, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education, and arts bodies. He was Director of The Arts in Schools Project (1985–89), Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick (1989–2001), and was knighted in 2003 for services to education.

His point is that modern education stifles creativity because academic achievement has come to dominate our ideas of intelligence. It's real purpose is to turn out university professors. He's a very entertaining speaker so his talk isn't boring to listen to.





(June 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm)whateverist Wrote: We're fucked.

We might well be because humans are just apes playing with dangerous toys which some science specialists have invented for us.

If our technological civilisation collapsed tomorrow who would be the most useful people to have around?

1: Theoretical physcisists
2: Craftsmen and women whose skills are now relegated to hobby activities such as spinning, weaving, woodworking and basket making.
3: Hands-on archaeologists who have learned how to make primitive forges for metal working and useful tools from flint and obsidian
4: Primitive tribes who could teach everyone how to survive by hunter/gathering and subsistence farming
Badger Badger Badger Badger Where are the snake and mushroom smilies?
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