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Are skeptics really that bad?

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  • Are skeptics really that bad?

    I've been thinking and following the war in Syria which is quickly escalating into a regional religious war in the middle east and was wondering whether skeptics and atheists are actually doing a service to humanity by combatting religious fundamentalism? It seems that religions have caused a lot more death and war than one would realize.

    I'm not an atheist, or a physicalist even and I know that both positions are incomplete, but I don't believe in organized religion whatsoever and sometimes I wonder if it would be better to let the skeptics attack religion and for humanity to enter an age of reason at which point we can then talk about qualia, intentionality, psi, etc?

    Just a thought.

  • #2
    Originally posted by shahz View Post
    I've been thinking and following the war in Syria which is quickly escalating into a regional religious war in the middle east and was wondering whether skeptics and atheists are actually doing a service to humanity by combatting religious fundamentalism? It seems that religions have caused a lot more death and war than one would realize.

    I'm not an atheist, or a physicalist even and I know that both positions are incomplete, but I don't believe in organized religion whatsoever and sometimes I wonder if it would be better to let the skeptics attack religion and for humanity to enter an age of reason at which point we can then talk about qualia, intentionality, psi, etc?

    Just a thought.
    Human nature is the cause of wars. If you remove religion (assuming that could even be done), humans will find other things to fight over. Politics, football, console fanboyism... Completely secular states based on communistic, materialist, atheistic philosophy did not end violence and cruelty.

    In order to have peace in society, we must cultivate peace, kindness and compassion in our minds. And anyone can do that whether we are atheist, agnostic, muslim, buddhist, hindu, christian or whatever. And if we do not cultivate peace in our minds, but rather cling to anger, hatred, greed, jealousy and cultivate huge egos then the result will war and bloodshed, even in a completely secular world.

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    • #3
      Depends if you are talking about True Skepticism or Militant Atheism. Atheism is a belief system like any other... their belief is there is no god. I am a skeptic but I'm not an Atheist I am agnostic.

      The problem as I see it is with militant Atheists is that they are no different to militant terrorists or radical christian groups so I believe they are a problem. The Richard Dawkins, Ricky Gervais, Joseph Stalin of the world are all militant atheists with an agenda. They used their positions to push their beliefs and agenda onto people and basically openly promote bullying.

      Do religions start war? No... anyone that has radical beliefs in anything start fights/wars and that can be anything from football club supporters to religions to atheist groups to governments that use patriotism to whip up a national frenzy so that they can invade countries.

      To me Patriotism is the greatest form of control and the start of just about every war or fight. If you got rid of Patriotism you get rid of most of the problems.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by shahz View Post
        I've been thinking and following the war in Syria which is quickly escalating into a regional religious war in the middle east and was wondering whether skeptics and atheists are actually doing a service to humanity by combatting religious fundamentalism? It seems that religions have caused a lot more death and war than one would realize.

        I'm not an atheist, or a physicalist even and I know that both positions are incomplete, but I don't believe in organized religion whatsoever and sometimes I wonder if it would be better to let the skeptics attack religion and for humanity to enter an age of reason at which point we can then talk about qualia, intentionality, psi, etc?

        Just a thought.
        Religious conflict? All those combatants in the middle east are Muslims. They are different sects, but that just shows you are always going to have some differences between peoples that unscrupulous leaders will use to bring themselves into power. Most religious wars are ultimately ethnic/racial/tribal or political conflicts and would occur regardless of religion. The Assads had many years to bring democracy to their country but chose to maintain a dictatorship. I don't see how you can blame religion for people's natural desire for political freedom.

        I don't believe religion is the problem because you would still have these catastrophes without religions. Communist atheists have killed vastly more people in their own countries and by fomenting revolution in other countries than any "religious" conflict. Stamping out religion will not prevent mass murder.

        Why do you think atheists will bring the world into an age of reason? You admit you don't hold that point of view. Materialism is not a rational philosophy.
        Last edited by anonymous; May 28th, 2013, 10:23 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Weedar View Post
          Human nature is the cause of wars. If you remove religion (assuming that could even be done), humans will find other things to fight over. Politics, football, console fanboyism... Completely secular states based on communistic, materialist, atheistic philosophy did not end violence and cruelty.

          In order to have peace in society, we must cultivate peace, kindness and compassion in our minds. And anyone can do that whether we are atheist, agnostic, muslim, buddhist, hindu, christian or whatever. And if we do not cultivate peace in our minds, but rather cling to anger, hatred, greed, jealousy and cultivate huge egos then the result will war and bloodshed, even in a completely secular world.
          Well said.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by anonymous View Post
            Religious conflict? All those combatants in the middle east are Muslims. They are different sects, but that just shows you are always going to have some differences between peoples that unscrupulous leaders will use to bring themselves into power. Most religious wars are ultimately ethnic/racial/tribal or political conflicts and would occur regardless of religion. The Assads had many years to bring democracy to their country but chose to maintain a dictatorship. I don't see how you can blame religion for people's natural desire for political freedom.

            I don't believe religion is the problem because you would still have these catastrophes without religions. Communist atheists have killed vastly more people in their own countries and by fomenting revolution in other countries than any "religious" conflict. Stamping out religion will not prevent mass murder.

            Why do you think atheists will bring the world into an age of reason? You admit you don't hold that point of view. Materialism is not a rational philosophy.
            The war is between Assad's sect + hezbollah/Iran who are shittes vs rebels who are increasingly becoming more radicalised and lead by al-qaeda. A sectarian war is a religious war. This is not a war for freedoms or whatever anymore, it's purely a sectarian war. A lot of secularists have switched sides to Assad because of the fundamentalist nature of the rebels who have openly called for genocide against shittes. Not to mention Israel's growing involvement (whose entire existence is based on religion).

            I don't know if atheists necessarily will bring in a world of reason but whatever alternatives they bring in will be a lot better than killing each other over myths and stories. It seems like such a waste. And before you bring in Stalin or Mao they were megalomaniacs motivated by a zeal for communism, not necessarily by atheism.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Frankmat View Post
              Atheism is a belief system like any other... their belief is there is no god.
              Can a single belief be characterized as a "system"?

              Would you call "theism" a belief system?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Arouet View Post
                Can a single belief be characterized as a "system"?

                Would you call "theism" a belief system?
                Technically you could call Atheism a single belief but I would wonder how many Atheists who don't believe in god believe in the afterlife?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Arouet View Post
                  Can a single belief be characterized as a "system"?

                  Would you call "theism" a belief system?
                  If you want to be pedantic about the use of the word "system", then probably not. On the other hand, atheism usually goes hand-in-hand with materialism and scientism and - dare I say it - skepticism (especially of anything "supernatural"). So then you have a belief system, don't you?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by shahz View Post
                    I've been thinking and following the war in Syria which is quickly escalating into a regional religious war in the middle east and was wondering whether skeptics and atheists are actually doing a service to humanity by combatting religious fundamentalism? It seems that religions have caused a lot more death and war than one would realize.

                    I'm not an atheist, or a physicalist even and I know that both positions are incomplete, but I don't believe in organized religion whatsoever and sometimes I wonder if it would be better to let the skeptics attack religion and for humanity to enter an age of reason at which point we can then talk about qualia, intentionality, psi, etc?

                    Just a thought.
                    The problem is that the skeptical and atheist does not believe in anything beyond the material .. So also the service they give is not particularly good. I think that a lot easier to be a bad person when there is no meaning to anything and you just brains. Syria war happens that people do not have awareness. And from what I know of their religion, they do not go by what they have religion.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by anonymous View Post
                      Religious conflict? All those combatants in the middle east are Muslims. They are different sects, but that just shows you are always going to have some differences between peoples that unscrupulous leaders will use to bring themselves into power. Most religious wars are ultimately ethnic/racial/tribal or political conflicts and would occur regardless of religion. The Assads had many years to bring democracy to their country but chose to maintain a dictatorship. I don't see how you can blame religion for people's natural desire for political freedom.

                      I don't believe religion is the problem because you would still have these catastrophes without religions. Communist atheists have killed vastly more people in their own countries and by fomenting revolution in other countries than any "religious" conflict. Stamping out religion will not prevent mass murder.

                      Why do you think atheists will bring the world into an age of reason? You admit you don't hold that point of view. Materialism is not a rational philosophy.
                      The problem in the Middle East they grow into hatred. If it is not hate for the Jews, its that hate each other.
                      You can see them at camp learning how to use weapons. Children aged 6 learn about weapons and hatred.
                      It's not about religion, it's about hate they learn it from an early age

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Weedar View Post
                        Human nature is the cause of wars. If you remove religion (assuming that could even be done), humans will find other things to fight over. Politics, football, console fanboyism... Completely secular states based on communistic, materialist, atheistic philosophy did not end violence and cruelty.

                        In order to have peace in society, we must cultivate peace, kindness and compassion in our minds. And anyone can do that whether we are atheist, agnostic, muslim, buddhist, hindu, christian or whatever. And if we do not cultivate peace in our minds, but rather cling to anger, hatred, greed, jealousy and cultivate huge egos then the result will war and bloodshed, even in a completely secular world.
                        Well put !

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by shahz View Post
                          I've been thinking and following the war in Syria which is quickly escalating into a regional religious war in the middle east and was wondering whether skeptics and atheists are actually doing a service to humanity by combatting religious fundamentalism? It seems that religions have caused a lot more death and war than one would realize.

                          I'm not an atheist, or a physicalist even and I know that both positions are incomplete, but I don't believe in organized religion whatsoever and sometimes I wonder if it would be better to let the skeptics attack religion and for humanity to enter an age of reason at which point we can then talk about qualia, intentionality, psi, etc?

                          Just a thought.
                          Remember Stalin or Mao Tse Tung and I think you'll find that your idea is a gross oversimplification.

                          Besides, organized skeptics don't attack just organized religion. Their worldview goes further than that.

                          Still, it's very wise to take seriously the necessity of a well established system of secular ethics, less prone to divisions and bias than its religious cousin.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Weedar View Post
                            Human nature is the cause of wars. If you remove religion (assuming that could even be done), humans will find other things to fight over. Politics, football, console fanboyism... Completely secular states based on communistic, materialist, atheistic philosophy did not end violence and cruelty.
                            If that was human nature, then the following would be useless.

                            In order to have peace in society, we must cultivate peace, kindness and compassion in our minds. And anyone can do that whether we are atheist, agnostic, muslim, buddhist, hindu, christian or whatever. And if we do not cultivate peace in our minds, but rather cling to anger, hatred, greed, jealousy and cultivate huge egos then the result will war and bloodshed, even in a completely secular world.
                            I don't really think we have a "nature" that is good, bad or neutral. We're much more complex than that. Still, I support your idea about cultivating those fine qualities. But that's something hard by itself. It's not just a matter of wanting them, thus having them. It's important to understand why some humans are more compassionate and emphatic than most while others are genuine egoistical sociopaths. Can those qualities be learned? Are they based on cognition and reasoning or do they need a sort of insight? Can they be developed at all ages? Do they depend mostly of physical or psychological factors? And so on and so forth. That's a challenge on its own.
                            Last edited by MLCC; May 29th, 2013, 06:54 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shahz View Post
                              I've been thinking and following the war in Syria which is quickly escalating into a regional religious war in the middle east and was wondering whether skeptics and atheists are actually doing a service to humanity by combatting religious fundamentalism? It seems that religions have caused a lot more death and war than one would realize.

                              I'm not an atheist, or a physicalist even and I know that both positions are incomplete, but I don't believe in organized religion whatsoever and sometimes I wonder if it would be better to let the skeptics attack religion and for humanity to enter an age of reason at which point we can then talk about qualia, intentionality, psi, etc?

                              Just a thought.
                              Skepticism/atheism is an important step beyond religious thinking, which is largely based upon projection. One way to frame it is to see skepticism and atheism as being a higher order of cognitive development than religious thinking.

                              However skepticism is only a stepping stone, and many people get attached to it, and get stuck there. The problem then becomes when the mind attaches itself to rational/linguistic cognition, and becomes frozen at that level, with unbelievers being seen as enemies who need to be eliminated (just as with religion). The mind then cannot see how it self-limits its perception through the formation of unnecessary cognitive and emotional boundaries.

                              One way of looking at an interest or belief in the psychic is as a step beyond skepticism. However the same problem often arises yet again, and people become stuck at that level. The psychic becomes a belief system which requires regulated thought and perception, as well as defending from outsiders who attack it. At the psychic level people get attached to the beliefs, and to the need to attack outsiders, especially skeptics. This effectively locks the individual at the level of the mind yet again, and the next step beyond the psychic cannot unfold. This is pretty much what happened to Stuart Wilde, who died recently. I wrote something about that here.

                              So in a sense religion, skepticism and the psychic are all necessary and healthy, as long as the mind does not become attached to the beliefs that arise out of each them. The problem is that the mind always becomes attached to its beliefs - until such time as it becomes apparent that the mind and the world of belief are illusions. Till then a person will tend to get stuck in the world of separation - us vs them, good versus evil, right versus wrong. The so-called psi-wars emerge from this fundamental inability to transcend the thinking mind.

                              So what lies beyond the psi-wars? That's the great adventure.
                              Last edited by Marcus T Anthony; May 29th, 2013, 08:16 AM.

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