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Scudbuster

Ark Encounter Ticket Sales Starting to Tank

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Sherapy
3 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

We actually are guaranteed both (as long as we are going to boil down centuries of jurisprudence into pithy slogans).

Indeed, we have both, freedom of and freedom from. 

One would have to live here to grasp this. IMHO

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Liquid Gardens
1 hour ago, Sherapy said:

Indeed, we have both, freedom of and freedom from. 

One would have to live here to grasp this. IMHO

Agreed and there's obviously lots of nuances, and just plain fundamentals, that aren't captured by the two slogans that were referred to.  It's somewhat complicated in that at a high level in order to have freedom of religion you pretty much need the Establishment Clause, the right to freely exercise your religion is obviously limited and potentially contradicted if Congress can pass laws 'respecting an establishment of religion'.  However to further my point I don't think it works the other way around, I can envision where we could have the Establishment Clause but no Free Exercise clause, or even an anti-Free Exercise Clause; a situation where Congress cannot pass laws establishing a religion is not incompatible with having laws prohibiting people from being able to freely exercise their religion, but we wouldn't say in such a case that the society under these hypothetical laws would have 'freedom of religion'.

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eight bits
21 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

there's a whole other equally important clause you are not mentioning.

Which? The establishment clause? Historically, that meant that the federal goverment could not prevent Massachusetts from having an established church (hence the phrasing Congress shall make NO law, not yea and not nay - just stay away... surely Not "freedom" for individuals "from religion"). Although the 14th Amendment effectively requires todays' courts to mine the Bill of Rights for personal  rights, the document as adopted freely combined personal rights and states' sovreignity (which is why the 2nd Amendment is so difficult to "unpack," we need to make distinctions that the original authors didn't feel any need to make).

21 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

My point is that if I had to choose which of these two slogans to use for the Establishment Clause it would be 'freedom from religion', not 'freedom of religion' (although both Clauses, at least indirectly, further both).

The good news is that you don't have to impose a slogan. If you do, though, your problem is that the establsihment clause must be read in concert with the free exercise clause, and they effectively contradict each other early and often.

If there is a harmony of the two, then it is to take an expansive view of free exercise, that it would include being free not to support financially religious activity which conflicts with your own religion (there's parallel litiagtion and legislation on free speech - and yeah, I do end up having to pay for a lot of speech promoted by the government which I wouldn't freely pay for... ya know, Iraq has WMD's and the powers subsumed inder the rubric "Homeland Security" shouldn't raise questions about who won WW II - we should be grateful that they've translated the phrase into English).

 

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Liquid Gardens
2 hours ago, eight bits said:

Which? The establishment clause? Historically, that meant that the federal goverment could not prevent Massachusetts from having an established church (hence the phrasing Congress shall make NO law, not yea and not nay - just stay away... surely Not "freedom" for individuals "from religion"). Although the 14th Amendment effectively requires todays' courts to mine the Bill of Rights for personal  rights, the document as adopted freely combined personal rights and states' sovreignity (which is why the 2nd Amendment is so difficult to "unpack," we need to make distinctions that the original authors didn't feel any need to make).

"Historically" it's had other and evolving meanings (obviously, since the example meaning you cited is now moot and reversed; the federal govt can prevent Mass. from having an established church, which is weird since the exact same clause now requires the fed govt to do something the clause was partially meant to prohibit).  The comment I replied to referred to what Americans 'are' guaranteed, which I think is safe to say is referring to the 21st Century and not the 18th. 

In the US, unlike other countries, if a church leader doesn't like how I don't practice religion there isn't much they can do about it.  Why?  Because of the Establishment Clause and the jurisprudence associated with it mainly.  Thus, the Establishment Clause provides me 'freedom from religion' in that sense.  

2 hours ago, eight bits said:

The good news is that you don't have to impose a slogan. If you do, though, your problem is that the establsihment clause must be read in concert with the free exercise clause, and they effectively contradict each other early and often.

Exactly and thus you seem to be agreeing with me. They do contradict each other, a contradiction that has been summarized in sloganed statements as the tension between freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Ergo, since we agree there is a contradiction, we have 'both' as I said (again, as long as we are discussing this at the level of slogans). 

Edited by Liquid Gardens
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eight bits
6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

"Historically" it's had other and evolving meanings (obviously, since the example meaning you cited is now moot and reversed; the federal govt can prevent Mass. from having an established church, which is weird since the exact same clause now requires the fed govt to do something the clause was partially meant to prohibit).

The Civil War may as well have marked the second founding of the nation. It is the 14th Amendment that effectively changed the meaning of the first ten amendments, or at least empowered Congress and the federal courts to supervise the states' performance in matters of personal liberty.

Quote

The comment I replied to referred to what Americans 'are' guaranteed, which I think is safe to say is referring to the 21st Century and not the 18th.

I think you and I are in agreement what century it is, and how the grammatical present tense works. It's the "what's guaranteed" that seems to divide us, although you've at least suggested that maybe it's a matter of how things are phrased. Maybe.

Bay Staters never did get a refund for what they spent to build all those Congergational churches. Many of those church buildings are still here, tax exempt (no small thing in Taxachusetts), now joined by many other churches, also tax exempt, but benefitting from police, fire, access to public schools, etc, which are provided to them by ... well, not by the revenue fairy, that's for sure.

Expensive thing, thing this "freedom from" of yours.

On-topic irony: if the state had refused the Ark park's application for a development subsidy because of its religious theme, but did accept applications from parks with other themes, then that would probably have been litigated. The state doesn't have to offer a subsidy program, but if it does, then it might easily need to convince a federal court that it isn't discrinnating against religious applicants or projects that express religious hypotheses yet nevertheless have some secular rationale.

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Liquid Gardens
16 hours ago, eight bits said:

I think you and I are in agreement what century it is, and how the grammatical present tense works.

Agreed, and to be clear I have also noticed that Americans expressing their religious beliefs is a daily occurrence, so the prohibition or restriction of that is not what I'm personally requiring in order to have some 'freedom from religion', obvs. 

16 hours ago, eight bits said:

It's the "what's guaranteed" that seems to divide us, although you've at least suggested that maybe it's a matter of how things are phrased. Maybe.

If I have said something specific concerning what is guaranteed that you disagree with let me know, but the only disagreement I see is that you have different requirements for when it is apt to use the paraphrase 'freedom from religion' than I do.  Your definition seems to require that you not encounter anyone expressing their religious beliefs without penalty, which is fair, some countries do not even allow that.  Although I don't think you have an issue with the paraphrase of the Free Exercise Clause as 'freedom of religion', despite it not being absolute either.  

Regardless we can imagine a govt where there is only the Free Exercise Clause with no Establishment Clause.  In such a society there is no guarantee that non-believers like us will not be persecuted by the govt; the Free Exercise Clause, as written and especially 'historically', doesn't seem to prevent laws that persecute non-belief nor protect it from persecution by non-govt entities.  Now into this society we introduce the Establishment Clause (and yes, Equal Protection is hovering over all of this also); did the introduction of the Establishment Clause provide its citizens greater freedom of religion?  Or greater freedom from religion?  It seems pretty clear that it is the latter to me, especially from our non-believing vantage point.

16 hours ago, eight bits said:

Bay Staters never did get a refund for what they spent to build all those Congergational churches. Many of those church buildings are still here, tax exempt (no small thing in Taxachusetts), now joined by many other churches, also tax exempt, but benefitting from police, fire, access to public schools, etc, which are provided to them by ... well, not by the revenue fairy, that's for sure.

Expensive thing, thing this "freedom from" of yours.

Technically that's 'ours' not 'yours', my fellow American living in a different state, thanks to that 14th Amendment you mentioned.  And you are referring to the Bay State Congregational churches that absolutely no one is strongly compelling you to attend nor throwing you in jail if you feel like criticizing it?  Pretty good thing, despite the expense, this "freedom from" of ours.

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eight bits

@Liquid Gardens

We seem to agree that there's no avoiding exposure to other people's free religious expression, but apparently legislating inhibition of religious expression isn't what you mean by "freedom from religion" (am I getting that right?). OK, then perhaps the bottom line for me is that as an agnostic, I do not think that religion, as such and say no more, in anything bad, anything that I would need, want or benefit because of freedom from.

Involuntary servitude? Why yes, I appreciate having freedom from that. Unreasonable searches? Yes, those, too. Religious tests for government offices and jobs? Definitely. But all of those are bad things in my opinion.

Off hand, I can't think of any good thing I celebrate my freedom from. To acquiesce in the phrase, then, I would need to deny my religion, which is agnosticism. Even John Adams, champion of Massachusetts' establishment of Protestantism, would agree that there are bad aspects of some religions, but we aren't discussing "freedom from bad aspects of some religions," nor is "freedom from religion" any sort of neutral "shorthand" for the longer phrase

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Sherapy
15 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Agreed, and to be clear I have also noticed that Americans expressing their religious beliefs is a daily occurrence, so the prohibition or restriction of that is not what I'm personally requiring in order to have some 'freedom from religion', obvs. 

If I have said something specific concerning what is guaranteed that you disagree with let me know, but the only disagreement I see is that you have different requirements for when it is apt to use the paraphrase 'freedom from religion' than I do.  Your definition seems to require that you not encounter anyone expressing their religious beliefs without penalty, which is fair, some countries do not even allow that.  Although I don't think you have an issue with the paraphrase of the Free Exercise Clause as 'freedom of religion', despite it not being absolute either.  

Regardless we can imagine a govt where there is only the Free Exercise Clause with no Establishment Clause.  In such a society there is no guarantee that non-believers like us will not be persecuted by the govt; the Free Exercise Clause, as written and especially 'historically', doesn't seem to prevent laws that persecute non-belief nor protect it from persecution by non-govt entities.  Now into this society we introduce the Establishment Clause (and yes, Equal Protection is hovering over all of this also); did the introduction of the Establishment Clause provide its citizens greater freedom of religion?  Or greater freedom from religion?  It seems pretty clear that it is the latter to me, especially from our non-believing vantage point.

Technically that's 'ours' not 'yours', my fellow American living in a different state, thanks to that 14th Amendment you mentioned.  And you are referring to the Bay State Congregational churches that absolutely no one is strongly compelling you to attend nor throwing you in jail if you feel like criticizing it?  Pretty good thing, despite the expense, this "freedom from" of ours.

For me, at the level of personal opinion the contradiction seems plausible in both cases.

As an agnostic I am free "of"having to abide or adhere to any other religious belief.. And freedom "from" means I don't have to adhere to any doctrines or any one else's religious  dogma's and am free to walk my own path according to own personal vibe religious or otherwise,.

For me, this is the explicit meaning of the implicit nuances of the constitution. 

The "you gotta live here in the US to get this." Lol

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Orphalesion
On 12/25/2018 at 4:07 AM, jaylemurph said:

Never underestimate how stupid we Americans are in groups. That this place even got built is a testimony to American anti-intellectualism.

--Jaylemurph

 

On 12/25/2018 at 1:57 PM, Scudbuster said:

It's probably a very decently constructed ship - but a mythological ship it is indeed.

And yes, as Jaylemurph pointed out, we can be very dumb and easily misled. 

Eh, people everywhere can be stupid, especially in large groups. The specific ways that stupidity expresses itself might vary from place to place and time to time, but well...   

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Liquid Gardens
13 hours ago, eight bits said:

We seem to agree that there's no avoiding exposure to other people's free religious expression, but apparently legislating inhibition of religious expression isn't what you mean by "freedom from religion" (am I getting that right?).

Not quite, I just don't think the restriction on religious expression need be extreme or total in order to still provide freedom from religion.

13 hours ago, eight bits said:

OK, then perhaps the bottom line for me is that as an agnostic, I do not think that religion, as such and say no more, in anything bad, anything that I would need, want or benefit because of freedom from.

Good point on how you don't typically need freedom 'from' good things, but this may be our difference then (along with that I don't consider agnosticism to be your 'religion').  The amount of lifting that the qualifier "as such and say no more" would need to do in order for me to say 'religion isn't anything bad' would be to the point of distortion.  The only way I could make that work is if that qualifier essentially just means 'if we set aside all bad things about religion', or is kinda too reductionist or pedantic, like, 'speed doesn't kill you, it's the sudden stop'.

And is what you really mean that this is your bottom line as an American agnostic?  Do you think this would also be the case if you were an Afghan or Bangladeshi agnostic?

13 hours ago, eight bits said:

Involuntary servitude? Why yes, I appreciate having freedom from that. Unreasonable searches? Yes, those, too. Religious tests for government offices and jobs? Definitely. But all of those are bad things in my opinion.

First I would argue that the 'good' of religion is disproportionately less compared to the bad of things like involuntary servitude.  And why is 'religious tests for govt jobs' even a thing?  Was it religion or non-religion that advocated for those in the first place, necessitating that it be specifically addressed by protecting us 'from' it, in the Constitution no less?

13 hours ago, eight bits said:

but we aren't discussing "freedom from bad aspects of some religions," nor is "freedom from religion" any sort of neutral "shorthand" for the longer phrase

It's arguable whether any shorthand like this is neutral for any longer phrase, most compression in English is not lossless.  'Separation of church and state' is still useful and descriptive despite not capturing the numerous specific manifestations that can take and mean.  Yes, we are discussing freedom from bad aspects of religions, why would that not be included under freedom from religion, that's the only part of religion most people really want freedom from?

An unfortunate Afghan agnostic is charged with apostasy and condemned to death.  The UM Religious Freedom Special Ops team choppers in and rescues him and brings him to the US.  Why bring him here?  The longer answer is that in the US he has additional protections provided by the govt and our laws.  Why is this protection required?  Because some religious people would like to freely express their religious beliefs by putting non-believers to death.  So, in other words, in the US we have additional protections from religion that don't exist in other places.  'Protection from' is somewhat synonymous with 'freedom from', although I'd agree with you that 'freedom' may imply something more total, but we've already settled I think that mentions of 'freedom' in this kind of context are never total anyway.  So I would say that our agnostic has freedoms from religion in the US that he did not have in Afghanistan; is your objection my conflation of 'protection from' and 'freedom from', or 'religion' with 'religious people', or that I treat 'freedom' as a spectrum and not just a point, or ha just all of it?

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eight bits
6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

along with that I don't consider agnosticism to be your 'religion')

It is my religion in the current context, being what it is about me whose free exercise is protected in black letters under the First Amendment, as viewed through the 14th by courts and legislators. It is also why I'd fail some religious tests which I am protected from by other constituional provisions. Also, for better or worse, I often discuss favorably the merits of agnosticism here. I sometimes write about how it differs from other approaches to religious questions (distinguishing it from atheism comes up often, for example), and it even affects my daily life (for example, how I speak of religion - I wouldn't volunteer to use the phrase fredom from religion, as recently discussed).

Given what I believe about the character of uncertain belief, my agnosticism surely qualifies as a belief system, and I'm equally confident that it qualified as a belief system for Huxley, too. It is a nice thing that it is possible to be a non-believer without adopting any belief "system," but I didn't take that option.

Well, OK then, we differ about all that, but not for casual reasons nor from inadvertance on my part.

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

The amount of lifting that the qualifier "as such and say no more" would need to do in order for me to say 'religion isn't anything bad' would be to the point of distortion.

We differ about that, too. I see plenty of expressions of religious impulse that I'm board with. In a few weeks, we'll be celebrating MLK, Jr Day. Looks good to me, no heavy lifting required.

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

And is what you really mean that this is your bottom line as an American agnostic? 

Yes, that's what I am. If I were an Afghan, then I'd be somebody else. If we're going to play "pick a nationality, but keep the religion," then let me be a French agnostic. It wouldn't nag at my conscience  that the constitution there gives an implicit leg up to views like mine (a secular society is a goal of the state), inhibiting my religious free expression not one bit, while trimming the wings of theists (although, the many French theists adapt and probably wouldn't behave as some American theists do, regardless of the law).

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

And why is 'religious tests for govt jobs' even a thing?  Was it religion or non-religion that advocated for those in the first place, necessitating that it be specifically addressed by protecting us 'from' it, in the Constitution no less?

Until about 1960, you had to believe in God to hold a public office in Maryland. Or at least say you did. It's still in their consitution, currently "dead letter."

Had the federal government been allowed to have religious tests, then it might easily have turned out to have been a Protestant one. Bad news for the old-line Maryland Catholics and the many Rhode Island Jews. The constitution would have failed with just four no votes, Maryland and Rhode Island would have been hard to convince without a guarantee against religious tests.

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

is your objection my conflation of 'protection from' and 'freedom from', or 'religion' with 'religious people', or that I treat 'freedom' as a spectrum and not just a point, or ha just all of it?

No, the focus of our difference (I think) is the character of religion, per se  and say nothing more. Your hypothetical Afghan doesn't need protecttion from religion, or even from a particular religion (there are plenty of living Muslims who have no interest whatsoever in killing him). He needs protection from murderers.

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Liquid Gardens
14 hours ago, eight bits said:

Given what I believe about the character of uncertain belief, my agnosticism surely qualifies as a belief system, and I'm equally confident that it qualified as a belief system for Huxley, too.

Physicalism and Nazism are both belief systems that can provide to those believers all the things you mentioned that agnosticism provides you, but I don't consider either to be religions.

14 hours ago, eight bits said:

We differ about that, too. I see plenty of expressions of religious impulse that I'm board with. In a few weeks, we'll be celebrating MLK, Jr Day. Looks good to me, no heavy lifting required.

Looks good to me too, but 'MLK Jr Day is good' refutes the claim that there is nothing good about religion which is a position neither of us have taken.  It doesn't help at all with 'religion isn't anything bad' which was the claim at issue.

14 hours ago, eight bits said:

Yes, that's what I am. If I were an Afghan, then I'd be somebody else.

Sure, but I thought we were talking about religion and the freedom of/from it in a more general sense, not just limited to eightbits' experience.  You said as an agnostic you don't see religion as anything bad; of course you don't if you limit it to just your experience, because you live in a country that already provides protection from religion.  Similarly I guess I could say that measles isn't anything bad, after all I've already been immunized.

14 hours ago, eight bits said:

Your hypothetical Afghan doesn't need protecttion from religion, or even from a particular religion (there are plenty of living Muslims who have no interest whatsoever in killing him). 

Who cares if there are plenty of 'Muslims' who have no interest in killing him, what's that have to do with what ills can be attributed to 'religion'?  Not all racists lynch people, not all drunk drivers are careless, etc, so is racism and drunk driving 'per se' harmless?  Racism, 'per se', is totally harmless; there's no requirement for racism to manifest itself in any obvious way.

14 hours ago, eight bits said:

He needs protection from murderers.

Nah, as long as we're sticking to just the most proximate causes he actually needs protection from the inability of his body to stop leaking blood after being punctured, or the inability of the body to function without oxygen, etc.  We don't need protection from 'drunk driving' or even 'drunk drivers', we need protection from car accidents.  "Per se".  Despite all the attention so many people have (mis?)placed on driving impaired. 

Sure, the obvious response in context (which I think is rather glaringly absent from your quote here - seems like the question of why he needs protection from murderers is rather germane) is that drunk driving increases the risks of car accidents.  Similarly I've noticed that there's an increase in the chances of being punished for apostasy when there are a lot of people of certain religious beliefs advocating for it.  The chance and extent of being punished for apostasy also seems to decrease based on where you live, as if certain countries like ours offer additional protection/freedom from what some religious people would like because of their religion.  If there was no religion then the number of people being murdered for (religious) apostasy would be zero, but this still apparently doesn't mean there's 'anything' bad about religion, even though you'd remove something bad if it didn't exist at all?

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eight bits
1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Physicalism and Nazism are both belief systems that can provide to those believers all the things you mentioned that agnosticism provides you, but I don't consider either to be religions.

So are a lot of things that can be distinguished from agnosticism according to whether or not the thing is defined by asserting a preferred responsive answer to the Question of God. Look, I can't compel you to recognize my religion, but if we're discussing what the US Constitution protects, then religion it is. I can't compel you to recognize my religion, but I can compel the state to extend to my agnosticism the same treatment as the local bishop's Catholicism, and for the same legal reasons.

1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

It doesn't help at all with 'religion isn't anything bad' which was the claim at issue.

That's not quite the issue, either, is it? My position is that religion as such isn't something I would or could truthfully assert my government protects me from. You can say whatever you like; that's protected, too. (Although I can't easily parse "religion isn't anything bad." What exactly is being claimed there? I'd have thought we'd be in agreement that religion has a dark side, as humans themselves have a dark side. What broad category of human behavior doesn't have a dark side?)

1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Similarly I guess I could say that measles isn't anything bad, after all I've already been immunized.

I'm not following in what way religion is analagous to a potentially disfiguring disease that can cause birth defects. (And I'm even more at sea parsing the formula <X> isn't anything bad - surely measles will do until something bad comes along; could you give an example of when you'd say otherwise?)

1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Who cares if there are plenty of 'Muslims' who have no interest in killing him, what's that have to do with what ills can be attributed to 'religion'?  Not all racists lynch people, not all drunk drivers are careless, etc, so is racism and drunk driving 'per se' harmless?  Racism, 'per se', is totally harmless; there's no requirement for racism to manifest itself in any obvious way

I'm also not following how religion is analogous to racism or drunk driving.

As to the hypothetical, there's an interpretation of Islam (and competing interpretations are all but inevitable in any revealed religion) where compulsion in religious matters is forbidden, much as Roger Williams managed to find non-compulsion to be a Christian imperative. Your Afghan's problem isn't religion as such. I am not denying that he has a problem, I'm not denying that it "has something to do with" religion, but ... well, let's look at that proposed solution again.

Yes, move him to the United States, or France, or  ... any place at all where some notion of civil rights and the rule of law reliably prevail. Holy crap! Turns out he has a political problem. Big time. Tell me, does the United States Constitution protect us from politics? Does politics lack a dark side? Is it like measles in any useful way?

1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

If there was no religion then the number of people being murdered for (religious) apostasy would be zero, but this still apparently doesn't mean there's 'anything' bad about religion, even though you'd remove something bad if it didn't exist at all?

My parsing engine simply shut down. Let's try this

If there was no marriage, then the number of people being murdered for cheating on their spouse would be zero, but this still apparently doesn't mean there's anything bad about marriage, even though I'd remove something bad if it (marriage?) didn't exist at all?

No, that didn't help either.  I don't think I'm on the hook for whatever this is supposed to mean.

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Liquid Gardens
30 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Look, I can't compel you to recognize my religion, but if we're discussing what the US Constitution protects, then religion it is. I can't compel you to recognize my religion, but I can compel the state to extend to my agnosticism the same treatment as the local bishop's Catholicism, and for the same legal reasons.

I do recognize your agnosticism, it's just not what I would call a religion since to me it bears little resemblance to the common aspects of the big religions that billions of people follow.  Yes, we are discussing what the Constitution protects but we are also discussing the overall topic of freedom of/from religion, which doesn't restrict the discussion to just to the US where a minority of religious people actually live. 

Besides, whether or not the US includes non-belief when referring to religion seems a little inconsistent.  If non-belief is automatically included when referring to 'religion' then I see little need for the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act which amended the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act to "state in the congressional findings that the freedom of thought and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs as well as the right not to profess or practice any religion".  (it's pretty sad that in 2016 when this Act was passed that this amendment was even necessary...)

38 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Although I can't easily parse "religion isn't anything bad." What exactly is being claimed there? I'd have thought we'd be in agreement that religion has a dark side, as humans themselves have a dark side.

I'm not sure why you can't parse that and I would have to look to you for the specifics on what is claimed; isn't 'religion isn't anything bad' a fair enough paraphrase of what you said: "the bottom line for me is that as an agnostic, I do not think that religion, as such and say no more, in anything bad, anything that I would need, want or benefit because of freedom from."  (allowing that 'in' is a typo and is supposed to be 'is')?  We are in agreement that religion has a dark side, dark sides are definitionally bad, thus there is something bad about religion.  You disagree with that flow I believe, it's not religion it's instead the badness/dark side of human nature instead.  Are there any things then that are bad because they motivate or encourage bad behavior (assuming that such a thing would be something that would clear your bar for being 'bad')?  I'm not sure there is from your perspective, I'm having trouble thinking of something that likewise can't be also placed under the umbrella of the dark side of human nature instead.

1 hour ago, eight bits said:

I'm also not following how religion is analogous to racism or drunk driving.

Because neither of those 'per se', 'as such and say no more', are 'bad' then either.  They just seem to increase the chances of/are a partial cause of certain bad things occurring, just like certain religious beliefs.

1 hour ago, eight bits said:

Turns out he has a political problem

And so our Afghan moves to the US and someone assaults him for apostasy here; is it still a political problem even if someone disregards the law anyway?  Although our victim here would have some comfort that there will be an effort made to arrest his attacker, and that these laws themselves should provide deterrence, the worst part of the problem, the assault, occurred anyway.  So that looks like more of a religion/human nature problem to me; the political problem is caused by the religious problem, the only reason it even enters the realm of politics is because of this religious problem.  The problem isn't just that a govt doesn't provide any protection from people killing apostates, that just exacerbates the core problem that some people want to kill unbelievers because that is what their religious belief instructs them to do. That core problem is not a political problem nor necessarily intersects with politics in any way.

Quote

If there was no marriage, then the number of people being murdered for cheating on their spouse would be zero, but this still apparently doesn't mean there's anything bad about marriage, even though I'd remove something bad if it (marriage?) didn't exist at all?

Allowing of course that there are examples of people doing and believing anything we can think of, I think it's semi-safe to say that if there is non-consensual cheating going on that they are not doing marriage right.  We can't say that about religion, millions(?) of people apparently think that putting non-believers to death is doing their religion right.  I think at worst you can only be inconsistent or later change your mind about your religion, I don't think you can really do it 'wrong' even if it does things that to most others are obviously wrong.

Even if we throw what 'marriage' means up in the air and try to allow the large breadth of possible definitions and conceptions that religions require, then if we get a large contingent of spouses who adhere to and carry out the death penalty for infidelity doctrine then yes, at some point there is something bad about 'marriage', while simultaneously being able to say that marriage is still mostly good.  I don't think religion is even mostly bad, but that's way different than there isn't 'anything' bad about it.

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eight bits
6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

 isn't 'religion isn't anything bad' a fair enough paraphrase of what you said: "the bottom line for me is that as an agnostic, I do not think that religion, as such and say no more, in anything bad, anything that I would need, want or benefit because of freedom from.

It's amazing how much difference the stuff in the middle makes. (Yes, in was a typo, which you correctly changed; thank you).

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Because neither of those 'per se', 'as such and say no more', are 'bad' then either. 

OK, that's your opinion, then. I wasn't following because I don't see anything good in racism, or in drunk driving, or measles. I see lots of good in religion, including the religion from which your hypothetical Afghan apostasized. I also see a dark side, but not remarkably more so in religion than politics or any other large-scale human activity. And yes, that's because humans have a dark side (which ironically may be necessary for an individual to survive in a world with hard edges - so there's some good in the dark side, at the individual level, IMO).

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

is it still a political problem

I wouldn't know, you seem to have superior insight into why people do things. For example

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

some people want to kill unbelievers because that is what their religious belief instructs them to do. 

I'll bet it's more complicated than that. I think I have acknowledged that religion has something to do with the problem, but I don't think assassination is often as simple as the assassin's beliefs "instruct" them to kill, and so the assassin kills somebody.

But "I'll bet" is not "I have the will or ability to prove," so perhaps we've arrived at agree-to-disagree time. I cannot prevent you and others from using the preposition from which I dissent, and I wouldn't compel you to refrain even if I could. I've stated my reasons for my dissent at at least two levels of discourse. Big surprise you disagree with both. Let's move on.

On IRFA: The language you highlight apparently occurs in the "findings" portion of the act. I'm unsure why Congress oughtn't be clear about what it found, especially when, as our own discussion amply illustrates, people disagree about what's included in the unexplained term religion. Why shouldn't the legislative branch get out in front  of easily foreseeable misunderstandings? Why should one branch of the government rely on another branch to sort out things like that, if it has a preference about how that should be sorted out?

Even at a practical level, the courts grant the other branches a lot of latitude in the conduct of foreign affairs (which IRFA is a part of). It's not obvious that a court would say that Congress couldn't tell the State Department to act on behalf of oppressed theists abroad and ignore the plight of oppressed atheists abroad. If that isn't what Congress wants, then it can't hurt to say so in as many words. Not that I can see, anyway.

 

 

 

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Liquid Gardens
12 hours ago, eight bits said:

I see lots of good in religion, including the religion from which your hypothetical Afghan apostasized.

I think you need a helluva lot of good to make up for advocating for or carrying out the murder of apostates.  To clarify though to me 'the religion' in this case is whatever a particular person believes and I would not generically refers to it as 'Islam'; a billion people don't have the 'same' religion, as the differences, like thoughts on what God wants to be done to unbelievers, are pretty darned significant.

12 hours ago, eight bits said:

I wouldn't know, you seem to have superior insight into why people do things.

I don't consider the ability to read to be superior.  You've never read the 'justifications' for violence offered up by certain Muslims, replete with quotes from the supporting holy text?  Agreed, I'm sure it is more complicated than that, just like almost everything humans do, but the alternative to me takes some superior hubris: 'well I know you're able to explain that your behavior is being driven by your religious beliefs and can quote from your scripture where that belief comes from and are part of a religious community that reinforces this belief, but I think my time spent as an American non-believer gives me more accurate insight into why you're really behaving this way'. 

13 hours ago, eight bits said:

The language you highlight apparently occurs in the "findings" portion of the act. I'm unsure why Congress oughtn't be clear about what it found, especially when, as our own discussion amply illustrates, people disagree about what's included in the unexplained term religion.

It's absolutely fine for Congress to do that, my mention of this was to note the boundaries of what you were mentioning, that essentially the same protections for religion in the Constitution also cover our non-belief.  That's true thankfully within that context, but they are not always treated as essentially the same thing by other countries as evidenced partly by this amendment to the IRFA.  Based on various google searches it seems that the main reason this amendment got attention in popular media is because it is one of the few documents specifically mentioning protections for non-belief.  I had never heard of it actually, as I've said many times I always like when I discover something new in the course of UM-ing, even when it's part of a hair-splitting, pedantic, shooting-the-stuff discussion concerning the awesome importance of semantics like this one.  :tu:

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eight bits
29 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

I think you need a helluva lot of good to make up for advocating for or carrying out the murder of apostates. 

Yes, but I have a good opinion of the United States despite the assassination of Diem -  for what, and at what cost? And that's just the first episode that popped into my head. (Both the victim and the CEO of his assassins' paymaster were Catholics; it really was politics as usual, not a religious thing - Diem's chief domestic problem was a mix of politics and religion, but his religious opponents didn't kill him; his erstwhile political allies did).

On Islam: yes, of course. The two billion "Christians" don't all have the "same religion," etiher. Islam is an umbrella term, albeit a smaller umbrella than religion.

39 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

You've never read the 'justifications' for violence offered up by certain Muslims, replete with quotes from the supporting holy text? 

Most skeptics are familiar with the tenuous reliability of eyewitness testimony, and especially of the witness' interpretation of what they experienced . Of all the forms of self-interpreted eyewitness testimony, self-report of behavioral motivation is just about the pits. Even without depth psychology (and as it happens, I am not entirely innocent of that), it is elementary to distinguish between a reason and a rationale. Yes, the rationale of some murders comes complete with chapter and verse from the Koran. Passive acceptance of that self-aggrandizing uncorrborated report is the epitome of critical thinking? Give me a break.

48 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

'well I know you're able to explain that your behavior is being driven by your religious beliefs and can quote from your scripture where that belief comes from and are part of a religious community that reinforces this belief, but I think my time spent as an American non-believer gives me more accurate insight into why you're really behaving this way'. 

No, actually it's my time as a human being, a fair amount of it spent studying the relationships between behavior and the volunteered explanations of it, including candidates for normative explanations of behavior. If we agree, as you say we do, that there's some complexity to it, then why can't we just settle for that as the resolution of this point?

59 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

they are not always treated as essentially the same thing by other countries as evidenced partly by this amendment to the IRFA. 

OK, we're in agreement about that (noting that "not the same" includes de facto favoritism for views like ours, and de jure overt favoritism in public life, as in France).

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Liquid Gardens
2 hours ago, eight bits said:

Yes, but I have a good opinion of the United States despite the assassination of Diem -  for what, and at what cost?

Sure, but we can point to the good things about the US that counter the bad things. Even though I think you said something earlier about there being good things about the religion of our hypothetical apostate-punisher too, you of course don't know that, as we agree 'Muslim' doesn't tell us much about the specifics of that religion and we agree there are many flavors.

2 hours ago, eight bits said:

Of all the forms of self-interpreted eyewitness testimony, self-report of behavioral motivation is just about the pits.

Interesting, is there a superior way of accurately determining behavioral motivations than self-reporting?  We know that eyewitness testimony is sketchy because of evidence:  the testimony doesn't always match between different eyewitnesses and can be refuted by objective evidence of the non-eyewitness variety.  Are there really many/any examples of someone's 'real' motivation for their actions being disproven by objective evidence?  Sure upon reflection someone may later change their explanation for their motivation, but that revised explanation is just another self-report of behavioral motivations which also would apparently get us nowhere (although agreed, this does reinforce the unreliability of these self-reports).

2 hours ago, eight bits said:

Even without depth psychology (and as it happens, I am not entirely innocent of that), it is elementary to distinguish between a reason and a rationale. Yes, the rationale of some murders comes complete with chapter and verse from the Koran. Passive acceptance of that self-aggrandizing uncorrborated report is the epitome of critical thinking? Give me a break.

I agree there's cause to be skeptical and no, critical thinking can only take you so far in this case, because I'd argue that these reports about self-motivation are not just uncorroborated, they are uncorroborate-able, unless we have some evidence for any reporting method of behavioral motivation that is not the pits.  In the case of rationale-reason differences that our believer is unaware of/not just lying about, it would seem to require not just normal telepathy but telepathy with access to the un/sub-conscious; even our behaver may not be consciously aware of the 'real' reasons.  I admittedly have not studied this like you but I'm having trouble coming up with a potential method of more reliably determining someone's true reason for doing something that doesn't rely at all on self-reporting, which is apparently out because it sucks.

Does our confidence that the stated rationale is an actual 'reason' also increase with the number of people who state it?  There are a decent number (millions?) of people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc, providing similar rationales; sure maybe they're lying but it seems like the chance they are all so consistently that far off on the contents of their own mind goes down as the number of people offering it increases. I would think the numbers do increase the likelihood the rationale has a large overlap with the actual reason, and given that I'm at least also unaware of a way of determining the real 'reasons' for people's behavior that is superior and more reliable, and given my suspicion that, outside of liars, the stated rationale probably does still have something at least to do with the real reason and isn't entirely irrelevant, I don't think I'd characterize the tentative acceptance of their stated motivations as 'passive'.

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XenoFish

I'm lost to this conversation. Did the Ark sink yet?

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eight bits
1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Interesting, is there a superior way of accurately determining behavioral motivations than self-reporting? 

Impartial investigation of actual facts? And suppose there were no superior way? How does that rehabilitate a known to be unreliable way? Example Some people use astrology to predict the stock market. There is no way uncontroversially known to be better than astrology to predict the stock market. Ought we to conclude that astrology has merit? No, we ought to conclude that predicting the stock market is wicked hard.

1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

We know that eyewitness testimony is sketchy because of evidence:  the testimony doesn't always match between different eyewitnesses and can be refuted by objective evidence of the non-eyewitness variety. 

Actually, we have laboratory results, too. There are systemic problems with eyewitness testimony, not just anecdotes about performance failure. Autobiographical reporting has also been studied in its own right. The problems there are also systemic, not anecdotal performance failures. Even when keeping a diary, people get simple matters of fact wrong - what they ate, what websites they visited, ... oh, religion - how often they go to church, synagogue or mosque, if they go at all. Apparently there's not much reproductive fitness value in accurately inventorying one's own behavior and understanding one's own motivations, and maybe less value in being truthful about them.

As to the evidentiary approach to showing that a rationale isn't a reason, a lot of behavior leaves a paper trail. Paper trails have frquently been nasty to claimed rationales. I don't claim that we often ever come to know the real reasons for behavior completely and accurately. I only claim we can sniff out some rationales as false. Because we have.

1 hour ago, Liquid Gardens said:

I would think the numbers do increase the likelihood the rationale has a large overlap with the actual reason, and given that I'm at least also unaware of a way of determining the real 'reasons' for people's behavior that is superior and more reliable, and given my suspicion that, outside of liars, the stated rationale probably does still have something at least to do with the real reason and isn't entirely irrelevant

I keep pointing out that I've acknowledged the "something to do with" part; the remaining problem is what that something is, and especially how important that is compared with other factors.

I'm not sure what your numbers argument is. The more people who profess "it's OK to kill apostates" in my vicintiy, the more likely I'll get away with killing somebody by claiming that (s)he was an apostate. That doesn't seem to compel the conclusion that the claim is more likely to be true, and it doesn't do anything for the possible complication of not being the only reason, the most important reason, or even an actual reason for doing it (how many apostates does the average person among your millions kill in any given year?). However, now that I've done it, I have a positive incentive to stay "on message,' and talk only about the possible justification of what I've done and dummy up about how things were going in our marriage, etc..

And on the off chance that the prohibitive majority of those millions have never killed even a single apostate themselves, I'm not so worried about whether they're telling the truth about their motivations. It's the person who's admitted to killing somebody whose truthfulness I might be skeptical about (it's difficult to use the apostasy justification without acknowledging responsibility for the killing). I would be skeptical about any exculpatory claim offered by an admitted killer, whether it's a religious claim, self-defense claim, I-didn't-know-it-was-loaded claim, ...  And sure, some of the claims might be complete and accurate explanations of the behavior admitted to, but I'm not going to say "Well, if you say so, I guess we're done here."

But perhaps you're seeing something in the hypothetical that I'm not.

 

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eight bits
1 hour ago, XenoFish said:

I'm lost to this conversation. Did the Ark sink yet?

In order to ensure that its state subsidy reflects a secular purpose, the Ark Encounter adheres to strict historical accuracy. Therefore, its Ark doesn't actually float.

Edited by eight bits
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XenoFish
3 minutes ago, eight bits said:

In order to ensure that its states subsidy reflects a secular purpose, the Ark Encounter adheres to strict historical accuracy. Therefore, its Ark doesn't actually float.

To be honest I hardly care. This ark is a stupid idea and a massive waste of money and resources that could've been put to better use, but people are stupid and do stupid things for idiotic reason. 

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eight bits

That was a joke, X.

Happy New Year, or whatever way you feel about it.

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Liquid Gardens
19 hours ago, eight bits said:

How does that rehabilitate a known to be unreliable way? Example Some people use astrology to predict the stock market. There is no way uncontroversially known to be better than astrology to predict the stock market. Ought we to conclude that astrology has merit? No, we ought to conclude that predicting the stock market is wicked hard.

First off Happy New Year!  Second I at least am in the part of the conversation where I'm not sure I really disagree with you and am more in the 'interesting to think about' phase.

There is a difference of course when referring to astrology in this case.  There is nothing objective to support any relationship between astrology and the stock market, yet there is a ton to support accurate self reporting.  I woke up this morning and ran up to 7-11 because I was hungry and thirsty... or did I?  No, I did and that's why.  I'm not even sure I'd say, or even depth psychology would 'say', that most self-reports are likely false, even as to motivations for behavior.  Accurate astrological predictions of the stock market on the other hand I'm pretty sure is in the 'even the blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes' category.

20 hours ago, eight bits said:

I only claim we can sniff out some rationales as false. Because we have

Sure, but have we concerning things that cannot be objectively shown to be 'proven' false?  "I stole the bread because I am poor" can be proven false if our shoplifter is actually a zillionaire.  Again, I see no way of applying that to religious beliefs when we include the clause, 'self-reporting is unreliable', there isn't any obvious reality of religion to point to reference.  We can find out all kinds of things about extraneous circumstances surrounding the hypothetical apostate, like as you mentioned maybe the 'apostate' was having an affair with his wife, but it seems as long as he meets whatever criteria counts for being a religious person and claims his God wants the world with no unbelief, I see zero way of ever disproving that is an accurate self report to the extent you can for other self-reports with different circumstances.

20 hours ago, eight bits said:

I'm not sure what your numbers argument is.

Does the probability of a stated rationale being the actual reason increase as more people state it?  If a million people say they advocate for punishment for apostasy because that is their religion is it more likely that is a reason for that advocation compared to one astrologer who says apostasy should be punished because of their beliefs about astrology?  At a basic level, it seems like it does even if it's just for the banal observation that the chances someone is correct increases the more people are included, and we are just then hair-splitting about 'how many people' which neither of know and what level reaches the 'bad' threshold which is subjective.  The most important meal of the day is breakfast, so start your day right with a heaping bowl of Quibbles! (Then again cutting down on them might be a good NY resolution too, since I think I'm supposed to be tying this in to something about the ark encounter.  That video was too rambly and boring for me so didn't get the main point to discuss.  The vlogger seemed to be planning a visit and may have alluded to something that could ultimately turn into yet more tiresome laughing and pointing at the real visitors to the encounter and their crazy irrational beliefs, which is way stale now and sooo last decade.)

This is tough to discuss for me too as the boundaries of it taken to the extreme, 'all of our self-reporting is very unreliable', starts pulling the carpet out from reality itself or at least our ability to say much about it.  I get too close to the fence dividing it from Matrix-y, 'you don't know what you really think' territory that it abuts.

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Posted (edited)

@Liquid Gardens

Happy New Year!

At the "thinking about it" level; it's more that it's complicated than that "you don't know what you really think," which we probably both find obnoxious. One thing that makes it complicated is that while you know what you think, you're not likely to tell others about whatever thoughts you might have that are socially disapproved of, or that you yourself are uncomfortable with. Unless you are hugely different than most people, there is at least one thing that you believe to be true about yourself that you will never tell more than one other carefully selected person, and zero is not out of the question. And there are probably more than one such things.

That's the opening bid. Everything else about self-reporting that can go wrong is in addition to that hard upper bound on completeness and accuracy. I'll even go out on a limb. I'll bet the stuff folks won't talk about is more likely to be relevant to whatever murders they might commit than to choosing which convenience store they shop at.

Different kinds of self-report have different sources of difficulty. Human long-term memories just aren't able to keep the detailed facts straight about long-ago events. Motive questions are tricky in part because, like long-term memory retrieval. there's apt to be a good deal of inference involved. I wouldn't be surprised if the actual trajectory of your decision to go to the 7-11 involved little deliberation about the pros and cons of the proposed mission. You do recall (correctly, say) that you bought something to eat and something to wash it down with. You may or may not remember that you looked at the magazine rack, but you didn't buy one, and who goes to a convenience store on a holiday in order to buy a magazine?

OK, so yes, you went to the store because you were hungry and thirsty (not that you necessarily remember your hunger or thirst exactly, but you must have been, based upon what you bought). Great, the inference worked out this time. But you know how inferences are, we all get some wrong, too. And just because the inference is about us doesn't mean we're better at such inferences than, say, close friends would be if they were the ones doing the explaining of our behavior rather than ourselves.

Have you noticed that sometimes when you ask somebody "are you hungry?" that they look at their wristwatch? Why do you think they do that? Do you think if you ask them why that they would give you the right answer without any hesitation? Maybe a chuckle instead of an answer? In fact, you'd be rude to press the question.

2 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

Does the probability of a stated rationale being the actual reason increase as more people state it?  If a million people say they advocate for punishment for apostasy because that is their religion is it more likely that is a reason for that advocation compared to one astrologer who says apostasy should be punished because of their beliefs about astrology?  At a basic level, it seems like it does even if it's just for the banal observation that the chances someone is correct increases the more people are included, and we are just then hair-splitting about 'how many people' which neither of know and what level reaches the 'bad' threshold which is subjective.  The most important meal of the day is breakfast, so start your day right with a heaping bowl of Quibbles! (Then again cutting down on them might be a good NY resolution too,

If a miliion people independently report something, especially in a private setting, then you've got something. If a million have read the same book, and their collective public answer to the question you ask them is found on page 34 of that book, then I am much less impressed.

2 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

since I think I'm supposed to be tying this in to something about the ark encounter.  That video was too rambly and boring for me so didn't get the main point to discuss.  The vlogger seemed to be planning a visit and may have alluded to something that could ultimately turn into yet more tiresome laughing and pointing at the real visitors to the encounter and their crazy irrational beliefs, which is way stale now and sooo last decade.)

I agree about the vid. But seeing as how I don't live in the state that's guaranteeing their loans (or whatever the deal is), I find it encouraging that the Ark Encounter isn't a huge draw. Its existence is just another thing that makes Americans look like damned fools to the rest of the world.

Edited by eight bits
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