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Truth and Belief
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cyberman
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Truth and Belief  Reply with quote

Quote:
Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday singing "Yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down. down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it. - Dan Barker


This quote is currently used in Shaker's signature block. Hope you mind me borrowing it, Shaker.

Do those present think that if people go on demos chanting "we think gay people should be treated as equals" or "Don't wage war in my name", or what have you, then they are "pretty insecure" about the beliefs to which they are giving voice?
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The Boyg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that the two things are really comparable.

People on demos are usually agitating for change, rather than simply expressing a belief.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beat me to it.

Barker's quote, and specifically the inclusion of the word 'insecure,' is predicated on the idea that people who seem to feel a need to come together - and not just as a one-off but regularly at that - to exercise and be seen to exercise their beliefs are engaging in mutual reinforcement of what could be seen as some pretty shaky beliefs. As Boyg pointed out, people on demos typically aren't doing this.

Bertrand Russell's (and others who've said similar) quote about nobody being killed over the ten times table was making the same point. Barker was once an evangelical preacher, once upon a time, so I'd imagine he knows whereof he speaks.
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The Boyg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah the demo thing was probably a bad comparison.

Probably better to ask whether the reciting of the Scouts promise at their meetings indicates that Scouts have a shaky belief in the tenets of the  Scout law.

http://members.scouts.org.uk/supp...t-promise-law-and-motto?cat=7,132
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The Boyg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps this lot get together regularly to reinforce their shaky belief in humanism:

http://www.wyhumanists.org.uk/events/
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Boyg wrote:
Yeah the demo thing was probably a bad comparison.

Probably better to ask whether the reciting of the Scouts promise at their meetings indicates that Scouts have a shaky belief in the tenets of the  Scout law.

http://members.scouts.org.uk/supp...t-promise-law-and-motto?cat=7,132

I think you're definitely onto something there, yes. I'd say the same of any form of words which is repeated by rote and assent to which is demanded of people. The way that American schoolchildren are made to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is a good case in point.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Boyg wrote:
Perhaps this lot get together regularly to reinforce their shaky belief in humanism:

http://www.wyhumanists.org.uk/events/

No.
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The Boyg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The more I think about it the more absurd this proposition appears to be.

For example, a logical conclusion would be that Christians who only go to church at Christmas and for the odd wedding or funeral actually have a stronger faith than those who go every week (since they don't receive the regular, mutaul reinforcement of their beliefs).
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The Boyg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaker wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Perhaps this lot get together regularly to reinforce their shaky belief in humanism:

http://www.wyhumanists.org.uk/events/

No.


So why do they have these regular, mutual reinforcement sessions based around their belief in humanism?
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Boyg wrote:
The more I think about it the more absurd this proposition appears to be.

For example, a logical conclusion would be that Christians who only go to church at Christmas and for the odd wedding or funeral actually have a stronger faith than those who go every week (since they don't receive the regular, mutaul reinforcement of their beliefs).

It's bound to be absurd if you completely ignore all and any other factors which lead people to go to church now and again and/or for special occasions, such as residual social acceptability/respectability, family custom and the like.


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