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The Problem with Religious Moderation From Sam Harris

#961 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 08:11

I know that Sam Harris has presented the argument that our beliefs in fact do drive our actions. I'll see if I can find a short version somewhere.

Edit: Try this for a short article explaining the relationship of beliefs to actions.
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#962 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 08:52

Ok kenberg I also agree that that part was irrelevant but do you really think that I would have recommended it if all they were discussing was elementary probability and whether or not Sam Harris was defamed? It is 3 hours I know but they do get into very interesting territory later on, on the difference between various religions in terms of their effects on behaviour. Should we take religious motivations at face value? Well anyway, I guess sorry for wasting your time.
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#963 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 09:08

Gwnn,

This is the 21st century.

If Jesus Christ himself would come to talk to me in person, I probably would not give him 3 hours of my time. Not even my wife gets three hours, why should a video about Sam Harris get three hours of my attention?

I admire Ken for having the patience to give 20 minutes.

Rik
I want my opponents to leave my table with a smile on their face and without matchpoints on their score card - in that order.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!), but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov
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#964 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 09:30

You have never listened to a discussion lasting more than 20 minutes? I certainly have in some cases for hours, and certainly got turned off by other discussions after less than 20 minutes. Similarly for theatre plays, films, books, and just about any other pastime where I am not the main actor. I don't understand your point. Of course SH does not necessarily deserve your, Ken's, or my time per se. But since this was a thread started based on his views, I think there are people in it who would enjoy the interview. And it does start more boring than the whole thing, sorry for not warning people on this.
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#965 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 09:38

 gwnn, on 2014-October-25, 09:30, said:

You have never listened to a discussion lasting more than 20 minutes?

Not voluntarily in this century. Feel free to call me superficial.

Rik
I want my opponents to leave my table with a smile on their face and without matchpoints on their score card - in that order.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!), but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov
The only reason God did not put "Thou shalt mind thine own business" in the Ten Commandments was that He thought that it was too obvious to need stating. - Kenberg
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#966 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 12:25

 gwnn, on 2014-October-25, 08:52, said:

Ok kenberg I also agree that that part was irrelevant but do you really think that I would have recommended it if all they were discussing was elementary probability and whether or not Sam Harris was defamed? It is 3 hours I know but they do get into very interesting territory later on, on the difference between various religions in terms of their effects on behaviour. Should we take religious motivations at face value? Well anyway, I guess sorry for wasting your time.


No, of course I trust you on this. Really, I do. It's my own impatience here. I mentioned my dogmatically logical friend. It can be exhausting. There is a great clip from an appearance by Professor Irwin Corey, The Wolrld's Greatest Expert, on an old Smothers Brothers show. He takes, or pretends to take, questions from the audience "Professor, why do you wear tennis shoes?" pause. "There are two parts to this question. Why? This is a question that has puzzled the minds of philosophers for centuries.. Kant and Plato have asked 'Why' " Etc.

Maybe I am spoiled by listening to Dianne Riehm. She is terrific at getting the most from any interview. Except, and this was only once, she had an Israeli and a Palestinian on. It's the only time I have ever heard her lose control of the show. They just shouted, continuously, simultaneously and with no end in sight. This SH interview, as much as I heard, did not degenerate in that way but I got equally frustrated with it.

I may well try it again but it is sort of like watching a stripper. Take it off, don't take it off, but whatever you are going to do or not do, let's get to it.
Ken
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#967 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 13:45

 Trinidad, on 2014-October-25, 09:08, said:

Gwnn,

This is the 21st century.

If Jesus Christ himself would come to talk to me in person, I probably would not give him 3 hours of my time. Not even my wife gets three hours, why should a video about Sam Harris get three hours of my attention?

I admire Ken for having the patience to give 20 minutes.

Rik


Is it the 3 hours or the topic that bothers you?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#968 User is offline   Fluffy 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 14:32

ÒMG you had to resurrect this piece of s_h_i_t csaba?

I don't believe you Rik, if some US ex-president appeared on TV and started to tell secrets for 3 hours like who killed JFK and something about real aliens I would listen to him for 3 hours straight. Same applies for some scientist with loads of answers. If they start to answer my questions I will keep wired to their speech.
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#969 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 15:22

 Winstonm, on 2014-October-25, 13:45, said:

Is it the 3 hours or the topic that bothers you?

I find religious topics interesting and I have my fair share of posts in this tread, so the topic is not the problem.

But show me anybody who is willing to spend 3 hours in a row to watch a discussion, any discussion, and I will show you someone who doesn't have kids...

Rik
I want my opponents to leave my table with a smile on their face and without matchpoints on their score card - in that order.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!), but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov
The only reason God did not put "Thou shalt mind thine own business" in the Ten Commandments was that He thought that it was too obvious to need stating. - Kenberg
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#970 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 15:23

 Fluffy, on 2014-October-25, 14:32, said:

ÒMG you had to resurrect this piece of s_h_i_t csaba?

I don't believe you Rik, if some US ex-president appeared on TV and started to tell secrets for 3 hours like who killed JFK and something about real aliens I would listen to him for 3 hours straight. Same applies for some scientist with loads of answers. If they start to answer my questions I will keep wired to their speech.

A US ex-president doesnot need 3 hours to get his message across, neither does a good scientist.

Rik
I want my opponents to leave my table with a smile on their face and without matchpoints on their score card - in that order.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!), but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov
The only reason God did not put "Thou shalt mind thine own business" in the Ten Commandments was that He thought that it was too obvious to need stating. - Kenberg
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#971 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-October-25, 20:27

 Trinidad, on 2014-October-25, 15:22, said:

I find religious topics interesting and I have my fair share of posts in this tread, so the topic is not the problem.

But show me anybody who is willing to spend 3 hours in a row to watch a discussion, any discussion, and I will show you someone who doesn't have kids...

Rik


I have to give you that one. :P
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#972 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-October-26, 07:15

I am interested n religious discussions, if interpreted broadly enough. I was comfirmed in the Presbyterian Church in 1952. Adolescence is a tumultuous time for many, and it was for me. By 1960, when I graduated from college, I was a very different person from who I was at 13. By the time I was 30 or so, it became clear to me that any discussion about the existence of God was an intellectual exercise at best. The issue was settled for me, I would not be changing my mind. Nor would my religious friends be changing their minds.

So it is all settled? No, not really. I remain very interested in just how it is that we come to believe, or at least accept, certain fundamental assertions. I think that there are elements of choice and elements of faith, or some close cousin to faith, in this. There are some elements of logic in it, a lot of experience goes into it, and intuition. But overall my mind is not at all closed on this question.

A long time ago Bruno Bettleheim published a book called The Uses of Enchantment. The theme was that the best of the fairy tales can help us sort out our lives in ways that logic cannot. Especially in times of deep trouble ( I gather from the Wik that Bettleheim spent some years at Dachau and Buchenwald) this can be essential. Or so I would put hs views. I mean no disrespect in saying that something like this non-literal effect might go on in religion.

Anyway, if we take a broad view of religious discussion, I am interested.
Ken
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#973 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-October-26, 10:41

 Winstonm, on 2014-October-25, 08:11, said:

I know that Sam Harris has presented the argument that our beliefs in fact do drive our actions. I'll see if I can find a short version somewhere. Try this for a short article explaining the relationship of beliefs to actions.

In that article, Sam Harris said:

According to Gallup ... Only 17 percent of us [Americans] remain to doubt that a personal God, in his infinite wisdom, is likely to have authored this text [the bible] —or, for that matter, to have created the earth with its 250,000 species of beetles.
Is this poll representative of American opinion? Do subsequent polls confirm its findings?
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#974 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-October-26, 16:40

 nige1, on 2014-October-26, 10:41, said:

Is this poll representative of American opinion? Do subsequent polls confirm its findings?


I suppose that if 83% of the population believes that the Bible is God's Word, and if beliefs drive actions, this would be a gentle nation.. People everywhere would be turning the other cheek, honoring their fathers and mothers, walking the extra mile and so on.
Ken
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#975 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-October-26, 19:18

 kenberg, on 2014-October-26, 16:40, said:

I suppose that if 83% of the population believes that the Bible is God's Word, and if beliefs drive actions, this would be a gentle nation.. People everywhere would be turning the other cheek, honoring their fathers and mothers, walking the extra mile and so on.
Sam Harris is concerned about other biblical exhortations :( e.g.

Deuteronomy 13:7-11 said:

If your brother, the son of your father or of your mother, or your son or daughter, or the spouse whom you embrace, or your most intimate friend, tries to secretly seduce you, saying, "Let us go and serve other gods," unknown to you or your ancestors before you, gods of the peoples surrounding you, whether near you or far away, anywhere throughout the world, you must not consent, you must not listen to him; you must show him no pity, you must not spare him or conceal his guilt. No, you must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death and the hands of the rest of the people following. You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God. . . .

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#976 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-October-27, 06:32

Sure, I understand. But you were asking "Is this poll representative of American opinion?". I think that it is not, and I cite as evidence the lack of turning the other cheek and other commands. I was only partly joking.

There are various questions that people do not answer thoughtfully and honestly. Way back in the 1950s, when I was young, every girl was a virgin and every boy was not. One could reasonably ask just ow this could work . The Kinsey report to the contrary, homosexuality didn't exist. And everyone believed in God. There was only one God but somehow He showed himself in different ways but that was all OK because we were all of the same God. Well, except maybe the [fill in as you were taught here], they are weird. Every boy loved his mother. John Wayne was what a man should be.

Whatever you think of turning the other cheek, or of SH concerns, my answer is no, these figures are a myth. They always have been.

There are quite a few myths. There were before, there are now, and there will be tomorrow.
Ken
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#977 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-October-27, 07:14

From june 2014 Huffington Post

Quote

Gallup asked some follow-up questions in a split-sample poll to further investigate the beliefs of people who believe in the Bible as God's word. By providing two potential responses which included the supposition that the Bible is God's actual word, researched determined that out of those who believe in the Bible as God's word, 44% believe that it should be taken literally, word for word, while 56% believe that multiple interpretations are possible.


Quote

According to Gallup, the aggregate figure means that in America "a combined 75% believe the Bible is in some way connected to God."

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#978 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2014-October-27, 08:07

Even I would agree that the Bible is connected to God "in some way." Isn't The Godfather connected to Vito Corleone in some way? That is a very clumsy way of asking a question.
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#979 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-October-27, 08:29

I know lots of people who "believe" in astrology for conversation purposes but never base any decisions on it. Probably the same with most people who believe in god(s).
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#980 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-October-27, 08:53

Here is a link to Gallup poll.
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