Religion Retards Societal Growth

A Quick Comment on Religion…

I have to head out of town again for the next few days.  I wanted to write about this story but do not really have the time.  Instead, I will just post a comment and let you all discuss.  One of my problems with religion is this: Girl Shot by Taliban in Critical Condition After Surgery.  For those of you not familiar with the story, the girl was specifically targeted and shot because she spoke out regarding her desire for…an education.  The desire to go to school may be the cause of her murder (if she dies) or assault (if she lives).  This is disgusting and anyone who would argue against that point is certainly not worth my time.

What troubles me is the parallel between the Taliban extremists and the Christian extremists right here in the U.S.  To be sure, the Christian Extremists are not killing people.  However, their anti-education, science, evolution, and misogynistic attitudes are very similar.  So too are the numerous legislative bills that they try to pass.  While murder is not yet a concern here in the U.S., the goals/ends of both groups are the same—quash anything that threatens our belief system.  This is completely disgusting.  It is time to wake up and face reality.

Promoting ignorance and encouraging a lack of education does not advance our species.  Arguing against scientific facts does not help our species.  Treating women as chattel does not help our species.  Shooting kids does not help our species.  Religion has outlived its usefulness and serves to hold back society.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments.

—-RB

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8 thoughts on “Religion Retards Societal Growth

  1. Loren Miller from Bedford, OH, United States

    Even as science and religion are incompatible, so is the pursuit of learning at variance with a field which is based in ignorance. Religion wants obedience first, and with that a limit on what is taught and learned. Those who pursue knowledge on their own or in an unhindered field where learning and growth are freely available will quickly learn the lie which religion is and the power grab which those who attempt to push religion and its dicta on others are making.

    It is the same equation, whether the religion is catholicism or islam: the ignorant are more easily controllable. The educated may not be controllable at all by the kind of nonsensical garbage promulgated by religion. Young Malala has seen something of the possibility for her life in LEARNING, and because of that and because she may spread this revelation to her peers, she is a threat to those who would have no one learn anything more than the dogma they promote.

    Knowledge is power – plain and simple.

    Reply
  2. Brendan Bafrber from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

    "Even as science and religion are incompatible"

    They are not incompatible they exist in completely different realms of human experience. More specifically religion is part of the social sciences as opposed to the natural sciences and empirical methods of validation are simply the wrong approach of enquiry.

    This is a fundamental misunderstanding that a lot of atheists hold to be true. That is the validity of arguing against certain concepts in religion from an empirical basis. You can attribute motivation how you like to my prior statement. Take it as it is and not via the subjective confirmation bias atheism suffers from (rejection of deities).

    Knowledge is power but so is misinformation in the wrong hands. The knowledge that empiricism or the scientific method is not the only epistemological kid on the block is sometimes dismissed by atheists as it is an inconvenient truth.

    I assert that it is inconvenient because it begins to paint atheism as a facile interpretation of the assumptions behind our reality and the relationship to knowledge and "truth".

    and it is a reality that many atheists are unable to get their heads around.

    Reply
    1. Loren Miller from Bedford, OH, United States

      If there is any serious, practical utility to subjective knowledge which applies to anyone other than the individual having a personal epiphany, dream/vision or other such subjective experience, I am not aware of it. Any subjective experience is, practically by definition, UNIQUE to that individual and not necessarily shared by anyone else.

      The whole point of objective knowledge is that it can be agreed to and recognized as common, regardless of personal experience, whereas subjective experience can literally be all over the map. Being all over the map and not necessarily consistent, it is nothing that can be considered reliable, and not being reliable (at least not to anyone other than the one experiencing it), it has no common utility.

      I am a pragmatist. Something either works or it doesn't. Subjectivity may work for an individual, perhaps even for a group (though I find such dubious), but universally? Not bloody likely. Objectivity DOES work and IS universal … in everything from Newton's Laws of Motion to the principles which allow your computer to work. Anyone who wants to argue with it is invited to step off of a building and see if they can argue with 9.8 meters per second, squared. Like the man says, it ain't the long drop; it's the sudden stop.

      Reply
      1. Brendan Bafrber from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

        Firstly I am unsure why you have chosen to mention "subjective knowledge" as I was highlighting that empiricism is simply one view on knowledge and they are other valid views that have similar claims to "truth". Rationalism is perhaps the other main approach which comes to mind. You make reference to "they can argue with 9.8 meters per second, squared" – I am not aware of ever seeing a "9.8" floating through the air or evidence of it ever being observed in our reality yet we accept this and similar symbols as part of reality every day. Mathematics, Logic, and Language are all not empirically verifiable.

        I mentioned language as this also highlights an issue with empiricism or more specifically the positivist verification principle. This asserts that only statements that can be verified empirically are genuine. The issue with this statement is that the verification principle itself cannot be verified empirically so therefore is self-self-contradictory therefore not valid.

        You mention "The whole point of objective knowledge is that it can be agreed to and recognized as common, regardless of personal experience". The problem with this statement is that includes assumptions about our reality. These assumptions include the belief that we (humans) can act as independent agents and measure an objective reality and therefore give truths claims validity. Within science truth is therefore not dependent on belief alone BUT on a belief that can be verified through examination and observation of a an external reality – this is a core assumption of empiricism.

        The problem is that human consciousness is the ultimate in subjectivity. So the very methods of data collection in empiricism which relies on sense data is essentially subjective in nature. It can be argued Objectivity does work however it IS NOT universal. It has been shown that the act of act of observation has an effect on the experiment in the field of quantum mechanics. This is known as the "observer effect." In some experiments it appears the very act of observation brings certain particles into existence – this is extremely profound.

        Subjective experience does have commonality. You can see this commonality in what we call the labels for types of emotion. "Happy", "Sad", "Angry", "Relaxed" etc. Such emotional states are sometime referred to as "qualia". These states cannot be empirically proven but are very real and valid to all of us. Would you deny their existence based on the lack of empirical validation?

        Can you begin to start to see an argument that empiricism or "objective" methods of data collection and verification are those themselves subjective in nature and have assumptions of reality underpinning them, therefore have only partial claims to "truth"?

        Reply
  3. Mike from Saint Louis, MO, United States

    Your comparison is very appropriate … christian and islamic fundamentalists share the same defensiveness when it comes to attacks on their beliefs.

    The difference is that our society is intended (note the use of that word) to separate church from state versus an islamic country where the separation is non-existent. However, the violent fervor could equally happen in christianity (and has in historical terms) given the right conditions.

    Reply
  4. Jerry N. Wesner from United States

    Brendan, I find your argument overwhelming. Not by convincing me of your position, or even clearly explaining
    your position, but simply by quantity of verbiage. The religion I was taught is incompatible with logic; I have
    chosen between them. No other religion I've heard of holds appeal. You may, of course, choose as you please.

    Reply

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