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Bidiot Bales

What's your religion and why?

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Okay, just to nip this in the bud:

A Scientific Theory describes how things work and has been refined and supported by a large number of observations, experiments, and sub-theories, and can consistently be used to make predictions about other phenomenon. A Scientific Law, on the other hand, is a mathematical equation that describes a very narrow set of phenomenon. So we have the theory of gravity (matter is attracted to other matter and bends the surface of space-time) and the Law of Gravitation (describes the amount of force with which two objects of known masses are pulled to each other from a given starting distance).

In sillier terms, there is no law of evolution because there is no flavor of 1.98 .

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there is no flavor of 1.98 .

Why am I suddenly so determined to taste it?

Human nature. FOR SCIENCE!

Curse this vile husk!

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I'm actually kinda surprised at the lack of Scientologists on this thread. I'd expected a few.

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The funny fact of which is that with Lexical-gustatory synesthesia you might be able to taste 1.98, which only illustrates how arbitrary our brain's interpretations of sense data really is. The fact that what we experience can't be said to be the unbiased true reality is something which never ceases to fuck with my mind.

Careful. You might be wandering into potentially fallacious territory.

It's true that brains (and not just human brains) have made up coding systems to assist with the identification and categorization of types of information relevant to the experience of organisms of our needs and size. This merely means that the information is ENCODED. It doesn't mean that the information is fabricated or somehow less true.

Or another thing one might consider is that humans naturally lack the equipment to see in the infrared spectrum; however, our lack of ability to see in that spectrum does not mean anything as far as the truth of the infrared spectrum. Where our senses are not enough, we are able to detect and test the truth of things via other means. Hence, our ability to see and utilize the infrared spectrum via technology.

TLDR: The fact that human senses have limitations does not mean that the truth is unknowable. But it does mean the truth sometimes requires translating.

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I'm not arguing that our vision of reality is a lie outright, only that part of our psychology and the way we think is built on useful interpretations which create intuitions which may not hold true. Human beings have repeatedly demonstrated the capacity for overcoming the limits of our senses and thinking non-intuitively about nature. Quantum Physics is the biggest evidence I can think of this fact. A science, far from being completely understood, outright rejected by one of the greatest scientific minds in recorded history for how completely bonkers it sounds, and yet we can show it's presence in our natural laws, we can test it, we can apply it even!

The only thing I wonder, at the risk of being potentially fallacious, is whether there is some quirk of human psychology that prevents us from seeing what might be an obvious truth to a being with a different perception of reality, with a different set of sense inputs, or a different translation of that data might affect their psychology into seeing things in a way that brings about an intuition that would be completely alien to us. That for there to be a unified theory of physics, you need a non-human perspective on reality.

Okay then. I wasn't one hundred percent sure of your angle. There are definitely people out there who try to do smoke and mirrors with that type of stuff like, "Look, when I put a straw in this glass of water it looks bent. How can we even trust our senses? We don't know what's real! Everything we think we know is an illusion!" etc etc

Also while I understand and have addressed above your point about the pursuit of empirical facts. There is something more fuzzy and intimate in everyday living that I find more intriguing to call into question. It comes back to our intuitions. we have eyes which can detect light with enough sensitivity and our brains have developed in a specific way to interpret that data that we see in color, but the color red isn't inherently real, there's nothing in the wavelength of light which our brain interprets as red, that makes it guaranteed that another creature sees "red" the same as we do, that's what trips me up.

That's true. It's possible my red looks slightly different than your red. (Though obviously there are tests for outright color blindness.) It's been suggested that the way bats hear encodes the sounds they are hearing in a way that gives it a more visual quality than human hearing has. I seem to recall reading once that dogs may sense smell as having a sort of "shape" as well, in a way that we do not. And that's definitely interesting. For sure.

Your above comment about the "fuzzy / everyday / intuitive" part of our experience also reminds me of something Steven Pinker once said in regard to determinism. Not quoting word for word here, but he essentially said that the main problem people have with determinism is that it makes them uncomfortable. They don't like the idea of not having free will or the idea that it all just runs like clockwork. But it's possible to believe in free will AND determinism at the same time, but at different levels of experience. An ant wandering by a human foot is not particularly concerned with what is happening on the human level of the world. The ant is concerned with ant-sized things, just as a bacteria is concerned with bacteria-sized things. Human beings are not naturally equipped to easily read and understand what is happening at the level of infinite space, nor are we equipped to easily read and understand what is happening at the level of subatomic particles. Until very recently, those events have never been relevant to us. But it could very well be that on the subatomic level or smaller, determinism is true, and everything is on a track. But that would have no effect on our day-to-day experience, because the way we are naturally equipped, what we perceive is that we have free will, and that we make choices. Even if it turned out that determinism WERE true, it actually wouldn't make any difference whatsoever, because the universe would still look exactly the same to us as it did before.

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I'm actually kinda surprised at the lack of Scientologists on this thread. I'd expected a few.

They're like the big H. You have to say their name before terrible things will happen. You fool.

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I've had this issue before when I've met people with cultures that have a lot of religion in them

In Europe, we call them muslims. If you come across a group of them on the street. Don't react to them. Don't make eye contact

I'm not sure if that's irony, but I have a feeling it's not.

If that's your actual opinion, then I have to say: Rubbish! First of all - why would you despise religious people? And secondly: The number of Christians in my European country (Norway) far exceed the number of muslims.

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I've had this issue before when I've met people with cultures that have a lot of religion in them

In Europe, we call them muslims. If you come across a group of them on the street. Don't react to them. Don't make eye contact

I'm not sure if that's irony, but I have a feeling it's not.

If that's your actual opinion, then I have to say: Rubbish! First of all - why would you despise religious people? And secondly: The number of Christians in my European country (Norway) far exceed the number of muslims.

I don't despise them, I just think they're retarded

Anyway I have dozens of muslim friends and colleagues. They're moderate, integrated and educated. The rest of them, abuse our social security, live in no-go-zone ghettos in pretty much everywhere in UK, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, etc.. They are the most criminal, aggresive, homophobic, misogynistic people.

But hey. part of it is this post WWII left wing socio political correctness and pampering, denial that there IS a problem. a lack on integration on their behalf. and brainwashing by radical imams.

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I was Jewish until I switched to atheism at age 18 due to school and family issues.

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I know plenty of people who are perfectly intelligent who are religious, for various reasons.

Some, but not all of it might be that it's something that was very important to them growing up, a big part of their identity and something they just don't want to part with.

Some, but not all of it is maybe that it's just a blind spot they have, they don't apply the same rigour to religion as they do other areas.

Some, but not all of it is just that they acknowledge that there are all kinds of good reasons not to believe, but have decided that faith is a virtue anyway.

Some, but not all might be perfectly intelligent individuals, but lack the intellectual curiosity on the subject to ask the sorts of questions that have led some atheists to their conclusions.

Maybe some other stuff, too.

Clearly I don't think any of those are good reasons to believe, but I also don't think they're reasons only stupid people would believe. I think that there's a certain amount of smugness that can accompany being atheist which forgets that actually not all religious people are gullible dupes. We have come to different conclusions, but that doesn't mean that a thoughtful, intelligent person must be an atheist (and I know many who aren't, and many atheists who seem very unintelligent, too, and yet act like they are bastions of logic and reason).

I've seen some terrible, awful arguments in favour of religious belief over the years, but even so I think we ought to listen more, and stop going into discussions with the religious assuming they are intellectual inferiors.

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So, I guess this fits into a religion thread.

So what does everyone think about Oklahoma banning AP US History to make way for a class about studying white man's version of it, the Ten Commandments, two sermons, and three speeches by Reagan?

http://thinkprogress.org/education/2015/02/18/3624062/oklahoma-bill-banning-ap-us-history-make-students-study-ten-commandments-3-speeches-reagan/

I'm not even being facetious here.

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I've seen some terrible, awful arguments in favour of religious belief over the years, but even so I think we ought to listen more, and stop going into discussions with the religious assuming they are intellectual inferiors.

Yes. I am a staunch atheist, but I have grown to hate this sub-culture of condescending punk-atheism.

Frankly, it makes me sad to see that the entire Richard Dawkins fanbase and his foundation is now overrun with these types, when I think RD actually means well and is just VERY bad at living in the internet age (he's very smart, but old fashioned). I think that Dawkins's fans have done more to harm his public image more than anything he has personally done.

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So, I guess this fits into a religion thread.

So what does everyone think about Oklahoma banning AP US History to make way for a class about studying white man's version of it, the Ten Commandments, two sermons, and three speeches by Reagan?

http://thinkprogress.org/education/2015/02/18/3624062/oklahoma-bill-banning-ap-us-history-make-students-study-ten-commandments-3-speeches-reagan/

I'm not even being facetious here.

I think I just threw up a bit. The religious right needs to stop rewriting history. Its already bad here in Texas.

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So, I guess this fits into a religion thread.

So what does everyone think about Oklahoma banning AP US History to make way for a class about studying white man's version of it, the Ten Commandments, two sermons, and three speeches by Reagan?

http://thinkprogress.org/education/2015/02/18/3624062/oklahoma-bill-banning-ap-us-history-make-students-study-ten-commandments-3-speeches-reagan/

I'm not even being facetious here.

I think I just threw up a bit. The religious right needs to stop rewriting history. Its already bad here in Texas.

Here is a situation where I would be fine with being insulting toward my interlocutor, because this isn't just a thing they are doing by themselves in the privacy of their own head and home. This is a thing that affects future generations and sets American public education back further than it already is. Our education is walking on broken legs for economic/prioritization issues without stuff like this kicking it in the shins.

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While sometimes I wish I'd been homeschooled, I still think it's valuable to be in a school, even if that school is teaching stuff incorrectly. Smart, proactive parents can counter most of the terrible stuff being shoehorned in and having some students who question everything due to their upbringing is better for the other students than having the teachers go unquestioned.

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My only major objection to homeschooling is that if not addressed, it can lead to a lack of proper socialization. I think it's totally possible to home school and raise a child who is independently minded and willing to question parental/teacher authority though, I honestly feel like healthy skepticism is something that children develop on their own, simply by nature of being curious, the only time it doesn't develop is when it is actively discouraged by authority figures.

I honestly don't know, I'll have to check the pulse of the education system and look at my options when I actually have a school aged kid before I really commit to anything, but raising a curious and intellectually confident kid is a parenting goal, either way.

Yeah... every homeschooled kid I have ever met has been very nice, but they are always just a liiiiittle bit off when it comes to interacting with other people. Nothing that's going to affect their ability to function, but always just a tad awkward.

The other problem with homeschooling is that the adults conducting it have to be worth a damn as educators. A lot of homeschoolers ARE religious fundies teaching young earth creationism, etc.

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