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A Naturalistic World
#76

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 06:09 PM)Percie Wrote: There are more slaves now than at any time in history.

Raw numbers or per capita? And, source please.
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#77

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 06:09 PM)Percie Wrote:
(07-07-2021, 05:51 PM)julep Wrote: I don't believe people are inherently good.  However, over time humans have abandoned a number of human-devised systems and in doing so have increased the overall level of goodness in society--for example, granting rights to more categories of people.  Outlawing slavery, for example.

There are more slaves now than at any time in history. As you note, people aren't inherently good. 

Quote:Treating women as something other than property.

A good portion of today's slaves are women who are treated as property.

Quote:Setting up pension systems so that poor people don't die in workhouses.     

And another chunk is people in forced labor.

Quote:Religion gives its followers an in-group with survival advantages and a set of rationales and excuses for horrible behavior towards outsiders and people lower in the hierarchy.

And for generous behavior toward outsiders. My daughter for example does volunteer work with women who escaped from sex slavery.

Quote:At this point, the negatives of this system far outweigh the positives.  Eliminating religion would increase the overall good in society,

That's just confirmation bias. There's no way you can quantify it.

There are more humans today than at any time in history.   There are fewer societies in which outright slavery, for example, is legal, which is a step in the right direction.  The existence of horrible human beings doing horrible things does not preclude communities from increasing the overall level of social good over time.  

Hooray for your daughter.  She gets a cookie, maybe:  is this volunteer work with a Christian club attached?  If so, no cookie for her.  I'm a missionary's kid and spent my entire childhood helping outsiders in the prison system, but that help was only extended to cons who would say they'd accepted Jesus as their lord and savior.  

And, by the way, even when they had jumped through the religious hoops, those ex cons (and my entire family) were ostracized by the highfalutin' Christians in the churches that paid my father a sub-living wage.  No cookies for us: we couldn't afford them, and we didn't deserve them.  Nor did the Christians in those congregations.    

My position is generalized from experience and observation, rather than confirmation bias.  I've found no evidence that people are naturally good or that religions improve the good in any society.
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#78

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 06:46 PM)julep Wrote: I've found no evidence that people are naturally good or that religions improve the good in any society.

In my experience, I've seen that nominally decent people are made worse by religion and that religion is more a source of suffering than a power for good.
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#79

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 06:22 PM)GenesisNemesis Wrote: Do give examples of this, because I haven't noticed it in all my years (nearly two decades) of online interactions with atheists,  and I've noticed far more that atheists tend to acknowledge humans are a product of both genetics and their environment. That's not nearly the same as saying "humans are inherently good". Seems much more likely to me that you're misrepresenting atheists' views, as religionists tend to do.

Sure. A lot of you are fond of this: With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.

This is treating religion as a force external to humans, which can only be the case if there is indeed a god(s) promoting religion. Otherwise, religion is a man-made construct, and the thought above boils down to good people can be corrupted by bad people to do evil.
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#80

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 06:46 PM)julep Wrote: Hooray for your daughter.  She gets a cookie, maybe:  is this volunteer work with a Christian club attached?  If so, no cookie for her.  I'm a missionary's kid and spent my entire childhood helping outsiders in the prison system, but that help was only extended to cons who would say they'd accepted Jesus as their lord and savior. 

First, help is help. An atheist con being helped by an atheist is being helped. I don't get why people act as if helping someone with similar thoughts as you isn't virtuous.

Second, no, a confession of faith isn't required by the program.

Quote:And, by the way, even when they had jumped through the religious hoops, those ex cons (and my entire family) were ostracized by the highfalutin' Christians in the churches that paid my father a sub-living wage.  No cookies for us: we couldn't afford them, and we didn't deserve them.  Nor did the Christians in those congregations.

So, cons were being helped by your family due to religious beliefs, despite the lack of temporal rewards for doing so. You're demonstrating that religion can produce good that otherwise wouldn't have occurred.    

Quote:My position is generalized from experience and observation, rather than confirmation bias.  I've found no evidence that people are naturally good or that religions improve the good in any society.

You just showed how religion helped improve the good in society.
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#81

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 07:29 PM)Percie Wrote:
(07-07-2021, 06:46 PM)julep Wrote: Hooray for your daughter.  She gets a cookie, maybe:  is this volunteer work with a Christian club attached?  If so, no cookie for her.  I'm a missionary's kid and spent my entire childhood helping outsiders in the prison system, but that help was only extended to cons who would say they'd accepted Jesus as their lord and savior. 

First, help is help. An atheist con being helped by an atheist is being helped. I don't get why people act as if helping someone with similar thoughts as you isn't virtuous.

Second, no, a confession of faith isn't required by the program.

Quote:And, by the way, even when they had jumped through the religious hoops, those ex cons (and my entire family) were ostracized by the highfalutin' Christians in the churches that paid my father a sub-living wage.  No cookies for us: we couldn't afford them, and we didn't deserve them.  Nor did the Christians in those congregations.

So, cons were being helped by your family due to religious beliefs, despite the lack of temporal rewards for doing so. You're demonstrating that religion can produce good that otherwise wouldn't have occurred.    

Quote:My position is generalized from experience and observation, rather than confirmation bias.  I've found no evidence that people are naturally good or that religions improve the good in any society.

You just showed how religion helped improve the good in society.

Did it, though?  When we--my mom and us kids, as my father was always preaching in jail--took the ex cons  to church on Sunday mornings, there were empty pews on each side of us in a church crowded with a couple of hundred people.  Poor guys, having to pretend (in at least some cases) that they were on fire for Jesus and realizing it didn't make them any more accepted.  Maybe due to the disdain of the christians around us, the ex cons in our halfway house had at least as high a recidivism rate is those in secular programs.  Professional social workers would have done a more competent job--produced more "good," in my opinion.     

And there wasn't a complete lack of temporal rewards.  This was my father's job, and the rewards included compensation, even though it was well below the poverty line, as well as feeding his ego every time he won a soul for the lord.
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#82

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 10:43 AM)Percie Wrote:
(07-07-2021, 09:50 AM)julep Wrote: Yes. Humans are indeed horrible, both intentionally and un-, and they’ve created gods that reflect that.  So what’s your point?

The point is the contradiction in the thoughts of many atheists, who believe that people are basically good, but are held back from that goodness by religion. That could be possible if religion were a thing external to humans, but to an atheist that isn't the case. If religion is horrible, then people are horrible. Take away the religion, you still have horrible people.

I think you're strawmanning the atheist position. There are a breadth of views among atheists concerning how intrinsically good people are (or how intrinsically evil religion is).

Religion is a social force. It motivates human behavior. There is no stark line between "internal to humans" and "external to humans" when speaking of a social force.

I tend to see humans as a mixed bag of good and bad. Same with religion, really. It's absurd to deny that any good has come from religious ideology. My problem with religion is it is false.

But that's not my only problem. Remember when I said that people are a mix of good and bad? What do you call someone who considers his worse or most evil parts acceptable? A sociopath? At the very least an asshole. Most people can admit that their bad aspects are bad, at least sometimes.

But religion... no. Even its most contemptible aspects are "holy" and "indispensable." If I talked to an individual with such opinions of their worst elements, I'd write them off as a narcissist or a sociopath.
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#83

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 10:43 AM)Percie Wrote:
(07-07-2021, 09:50 AM)julep Wrote: Yes. Humans are indeed horrible, both intentionally and un-, and they’ve created gods that reflect that.  So what’s your point?

The point is the contradiction in the thoughts of many atheists, who believe that people are basically good, but are held back from that goodness by religion. That could be possible if religion were a thing external to humans, but to an atheist that isn't the case. If religion is horrible, then people are horrible. Take away the religion, you still have horrible people.

Wow, you sure don't understand atheists very well. As one, I don't think that humans are inherently good OR bad. And theism has little to do with the basic nature of humanity. And, in fact "good or bad" is debatable. Just as there are good and bad atheists, there are good and bad theists. I've known some atheists who were real assholes and some theists who were very kind. Theism is just a superstition that some people fall for like palm-readings and horoscopes. The problem I have with them is that too often collect in large groups and try to make everyone around them believe as they do. They say "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" but then try to render unto themselves what is Caesar's. Big Grin

"Good" is just a term for "generally acceptable acts" at any given time. It varies through time and from culture to culture. But I don't want to start a thread about that or debate it here too long. I'll just say that atheists tend to THINK about things more than they BELIEVE in things. For now... Whistling
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#84

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 10:43 AM)Percie Wrote:
(07-07-2021, 09:50 AM)julep Wrote: Yes. Humans are indeed horrible, both intentionally and un-, and they’ve created gods that reflect that.  So what’s your point?

The point is the contradiction in the thoughts of many atheists, who believe that people are basically good, but are held back from that goodness by religion. That could be possible if religion were a thing external to humans, but to an atheist that isn't the case. If religion is horrible, then people are horrible. Take away the religion, you still have horrible people.

This is simplistic. There are good humans and evil humans, in my morality, not because my morality is absolute, but because I base it on what the results are of a human's actions. Having the fig-leaf of religion or atheism doesn't relieve anyone of the obligation to not harm other humans.

It's clear that religion and its practices has harmed many millions of humans; yet in most all those instances, the religious think they're doing good (else they wouldn't engage in practices such as slavery, capital punishment for apostasy, seizure of lands from "infidels", and so on).

It's also clear that atheism too has had its tyrants willing to put millions to death for ideological reasons.

It follows that religious faith, or its lack, doesn't impart morality.

There are good and bad religious folk, and good and bad atheists. It doesn't follow that an atheist who regards religion as a human construct must therefore regard all people as moral or immoral. This is a false dichotomy you're posing.

Still looking forward to your answers to my questions about command morality. If your god told you to murder your son, would you do it? Why, or why not? If an order to, say, bash the brains out of the heads of enemy infants, came down from your god, would you follow that order? If your army lieutenant gave you the same order, would you accept or reject it? Why or why not?
Freedom isn't free.
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#85

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 07:23 PM)Percie Wrote: Otherwise, religion is a man-made construct, and the thought above boils down to good people can be corrupted by bad people to do evil.

This isn't a revelation to you, or anyone else reading this thread. Does any atheist assert that all humans are essentially good, and must be perverted by religion?
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#86

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 07:23 PM)Percie Wrote: Sure. A lot of you are fond of this: With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.

You're acting as though that quote is part of atheist doctrine or something. ROFL2 

But regardless, I don't agree with it and it's vastly oversimplistic.
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#87

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 09:59 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(07-07-2021, 10:43 AM)Percie Wrote:
(07-07-2021, 09:50 AM)julep Wrote: Yes. Humans are indeed horrible, both intentionally and un-, and they’ve created gods that reflect that.  So what’s your point?

The point is the contradiction in the thoughts of many atheists, who believe that people are basically good, but are held back from that goodness by religion. That could be possible if religion were a thing external to humans, but to an atheist that isn't the case. If religion is horrible, then people are horrible. Take away the religion, you still have horrible people.

This is simplistic. There are good humans and evil humans, in my morality, not because my morality is absolute, but because I base it on what the results are of a human's actions. Having the fig-leaf of religion or atheism doesn't relieve anyone of the obligation to not harm other humans.

It's clear that religion and its practices has harmed many millions of humans; yet in most all those instances, the religious think they're doing good (else they wouldn't engage in practices such as slavery, capital punishment for apostasy, seizure of lands from "infidels", and so on).

It's also clear that atheism too has had its tyrants willing to put millions to death for ideological reasons.

It follows that religious faith, or its lack, doesn't impart morality.

There are good and bad religious folk, and good and bad atheists. It doesn't follow that an atheist who regards religion as a human construct must therefore regard all people as moral or immoral. This is a false dichotomy you're posing.

Still looking forward to your answers to my questions about command morality. If your god told you to murder your son, would you do it? Why, or why not? If an order to, say, bash the brains out of the heads of enemy infants, came down from your god, would you follow that order? If your army lieutenant gave you the same order, would you accept or reject it? Why or why not?

I decided a "like" was insufficient. That was a great reply. Comparing a godly command to a highly-structured secular authority command was appropriate and useful in showing the differences. The WWII Nuremberg trials set the precedent of legitimately refusing orders "from authority". I sometimes wonder why theists don't make the connection.
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#88

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 06:09 PM)Percie Wrote: There are more slaves now than at any time in history.

Prove it. Provide the data, or STFU. See below.

Quote:A good portion of today's slaves are women who are treated as property.

Prove it. Provide the data. In Western Christian societies, they also were property, until very recently.

Quote:And another chunk is people in forced labor.

Unlike where you come from, assertions with no references or proof are dismissed as the BS they are.
Hint : yours are dismissed.

Quote:And for generous behavior toward outsiders. My daughter for example does volunteer work with women who escaped from sex slavery.

Irrelevant. Many many humanists and people of non-belief volunteer in many places. You have no evidence for what actually motivates anyone, and you certainly do not know what motivates those of non-belief. How many meals of "Loaves and Fishes" (or anything else) have YOU served in the last 30 days ? Oh ... none. How many have those here, served, ... I dare you to ask. Jesus said "whatever you do for these, the least of them, you do for me". You actually had a chance to serve Jesus a meal today. Did you ? Nope. The fact is, you don't actually buy the bullshit you say you believe.

Quote:That's just confirmation bias. There's no way you can quantify it.

And since YOU didn't even try to do just that, why is it YOU have dishonestly stated that standard, all the while FAILING to comply with your own (hypocritical) standard ?
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#89

A Naturalistic World
(07-07-2021, 08:23 PM)vulcanlogician Wrote: I think you're strawmanning the atheist position. There are a breadth of views among atheists concerning how intrinsically good people are (or how intrinsically evil religion is).

I think my point is fair. I said many, not all. I've seen that quote about good people doing evil time and again on atheist boards over the years. You go on below to use that argument in your own words, and your post got multiple likes.

Quote:Religion is a social force. It motivates human behavior. There is no stark line between "internal to humans" and "external to humans" when speaking of a social force.

I disagree, at least from an atheist perspective. Social forces don't just exist in nature, waiting to infect humans. They're wholly human creations.

Quote:But that's not my only problem. Remember when I said that people are a mix of good and bad? What do you call someone who considers his worse or most evil parts acceptable? A sociopath? At the very least an asshole. Most people can admit that their bad aspects are bad, at least sometimes.

But religion... no. Even its most contemptible aspects are "holy" and "indispensable." If I talked to an individual with such opinions of their worst elements, I'd write them off as a narcissist or a sociopath.

This is a modification of the good people doing evil quote, and both are wrong.

Do you think that people who use BLM protests as an opportunity to loot and destroy businesses, including businesses owned by blacks, admit to themselves that those actions are wrong? I find it more likely that they consider those actions justified based on past oppression.

Do you think that Antifas who physically assault people of different beliefs admit to themselves that they're sociopaths, or at least assholes? I find it more likely that they believe that their cause justifies their actions.

Justifying one's bad aspects isn't a religious thing or an atheist thing. It's not a right-wing thing or a left-wing thing. It's a human thing.
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#90

A Naturalistic World
(07-08-2021, 10:12 AM)Percie Wrote: ...I disagree, at least from an atheist perspective. Social forces don't just exist in nature, waiting to infect humans. They're wholly human creations.

I agree that the "social forces" of religions are created by humans.  As of
course are gods, devils, angels and miracles—indeed wholly human.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#91

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(07-07-2021, 08:22 PM)julep Wrote: Did it, though?

How would I know? You said your family helped people, and I took you at your word.
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#92

A Naturalistic World
(07-08-2021, 12:00 PM)Percie Wrote:
(07-07-2021, 08:22 PM)julep Wrote: Did it, though?

How would I know? You said your family helped people, and I took you at your word.


Oh dear.  Talking about missing the point...  

I explicitly noted that the "help," such as it was, was accompanied by religious cudgels and limitations and ostracism and that no one in my family deserved a cookie for giving it.
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#93

A Naturalistic World
(07-08-2021, 03:04 PM)julep Wrote: Oh dear.  Talking about missing the point...  

I explicitly noted that the "help," such as it was, was accompanied by religious cudgels and limitations and ostracism and that no one in my family deserved a cookie for giving it.

Before my post citing help, you mentioned ostracism, but an ex-con can be helped despite that. I thought your family might have done them some good, like finding work, a place to live, etc. If you didn't help them in any way, I couldn't have known it at that point.
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#94

A Naturalistic World
Humans may have created religion, but they didn't necessarily do so intentionally or purposefully. Assuming that a cultural construct like religion is some kind of mirror of basic human nature is unwarranted. When religion was created, people didn't sit down and decide what effects and consequences they wanted the practice to have. They just organically developed practices based upon things they thought about. So to suggest that if religion is bad, and it's a human creation, implies humans are bad, seems unjustified. It's somewhat magical thinking to conclude that "like begets like" when it often does not. And religion may be the result of multiple independent impulses. The law of unintended consequences takes over.
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#95

A Naturalistic World
Quote:I think my point is fair. I said many, not all. I've seen that quote about good people doing evil time and again on atheist boards over the years. You go on below to use that argument in your own words, and your post got multiple likes.


Yeah.... I wonder why that keeps fucking happening?

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You fuckers have been bullshitting yourselves for so long you have no grasp of reality at all.
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#96

A Naturalistic World
(07-08-2021, 04:06 PM)Dānu Wrote: Humans may have created religion, but they didn't necessarily do so intentionally or purposefully.  Assuming that a cultural construct like religion is some kind of mirror of basic human nature is unwarranted.  When religion was created, people didn't sit down and decide what effects and consequences they wanted the practice to have.  They just organically developed practices based upon things they thought about.  So to suggest that if religion is bad, and it's a human creation, implies humans are bad, seems unjustified.  It's somewhat magical thinking to conclude that "like begets like" when it often does not.  And religion may be the result of multiple independent impulses.  The law of unintended consequences takes over.

I think your point argues even more strongly that religion accurately mirrors human nature. If it was done purposely, you could argue that it just reflects the purposes of a minority. If it developed organically, that implies that yes, it does mirror human nature.
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#97

A Naturalistic World
(07-08-2021, 04:15 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Yeah.... I wonder why that keeps fucking happening?

Because most of you agree with it. Until I use it for a point. Then, nah, strawman, we never really agreed with it.
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#98

A Naturalistic World
(07-08-2021, 04:50 PM)Percie Wrote: If it developed organically, that implies that yes, it does mirror human nature.

As if all humans are either equally noble or equally atrocious.

What if humans are individuals with varying degrees of good and evil (however an individual may define those terms) inside each human because they don't all think alike? What if the balance between good and evil varies in an individual over the course of their lives as they change and grow? What if not all religions have the same good or evil effect in this world?

Again, as I said above, this view of yours is very simplistic.
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#99

A Naturalistic World
(07-08-2021, 03:16 PM)Percie Wrote:
(07-08-2021, 03:04 PM)julep Wrote: Oh dear.  Talking about missing the point...  

I explicitly noted that the "help," such as it was, was accompanied by religious cudgels and limitations and ostracism and that no one in my family deserved a cookie for giving it.

Before my post citing help, you mentioned ostracism, but an ex-con can be helped despite that. I thought your family might have done them some good, like finding work, a place to live, etc. If you didn't help them in any way, I couldn't have known it at that point.

We found them jobs, albeit crappy jobs, and we ran a halfway house, so they did have a place to live.   And we forced them to say they were Christians and required them to come to church on Sunday mornings, where all the Christians in charge said “bless your heart” and kept far, far away.  

I don’t think the help in terms of living space and job assistance was worth the psychological humiliation imposed.   It also didn’t work well; most of the guys wound up back in prison within a few years.   

I believe that a secular program would have done a much better job than we did.
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A Naturalistic World
(07-08-2021, 04:52 PM)Percie Wrote:
(07-08-2021, 04:15 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Yeah.... I wonder why that keeps fucking happening?

Because most of you agree with it. Until I use it for a point. Then, nah, strawman, we never really agreed with it.

No, asshole.  It happens because jesusism (like most religions) is about political power and has nothing whatever to do with any imaginary god.  You've been conned but I imagine that is an everyday event for you.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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