[FoRK] Milestones toward the end of religion

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Tue Dec 27 11:26:23 PST 2005


Albert Scherbinsky wrote:
> This gets to the heart of the matter. The original
> hypothesis, as I see it, was that advances in science
> would necessitate the end of religion. For science to
>   
I suppose I didn't state exactly what I was getting at until a later 
message.
The point was that advances in science would make it much more difficult 
to believe in supernaturalness when humans are able to do supernatural 
things.  This would tend to cause the end of religion because one of the 
underpinnings of the religious memepool is the tendancy of humans to 
believe, and want to believe in the supernatural even with scant 
evidence from primitive people through the longest game of "telephone" 
ever played.  Most of the rest of the memepool depends on leveraging 
this.  Some will believe in any case, but at some point a reality-based 
memepool will become more marketable.  (It's already more competitive 
IMHO, but it doesn't have the marketing / education it needs to complete 
in the US.)
> replace religion it would have to replace the utility
> of religion. So the relevant question to ask is does
> science have the same utility as religion? As you have
>   
Reality / science based philosophy / morals / ethics are much better 
than religious-based versions, they just aren't as widespread.
> described well, the utility of science is to create
> simple predictive models. Is this the utility of
> religion? Do people go to church to create simple
> predictive models or to learn ethics and morality.
> Does science deal with ethics and morality?
>   
You don't think that religious-based ethics and morality are predictive 
models?
"Break ___ and you will go to Hell."  "Don't do ___ and God won't love 
you."  "Martyr yourself and you will have N virgins in the afterlife."
"____ and you will go to Heaven."  What's Heaven?  Whatever you think it 
should be.  What's Hell?  You get the idea.  What a pair of memes.
They are not testable models, but they purport to be predictive.  Their 
power to control behavior is expressly based on their believed 
predictive value.
> Perhaps the cosmological role of religion has been
> replace by science, but has the moral and ethical role
> of religion been replaced?
>   
Science and reality do provide predictive models of ethics and morality, 
especially psychology, physiology, political science, math (especially 
game theory),  evolutionary theory, and even cosmology and physics.  All 
non-religious ethics and morality can be derived easily, especially 
since the last 50 years of ultra-enlightenment.

sdw
>   
> Albert
>
> --- James Tauber <jtauber at jtauber.com> wrote:
>
>   
>> Back in 2001, on this list, Clay Shirkey suggested
>> that Faith is that  
>> which is incompatible with Occam's Razor. My
>> response at the time was:
>>
>> """
>> Occam's Razor has to me always seemed useful really
>> only for those  
>> pursuits
>> where the objective is a predictive model. So it
>> makes sense for  
>> science.
>> You have two theories that correctly predict the
>> observed phenomena;  
>> so you
>> pick the simplest. As both theories adequately
>> predict the observed
>> phenomena, the question of which to pick is not an
>> empirical one. So you
>> adopt a convention of picking the simplest - not
>> because it is more  
>> likely
>> to be the truth, but because it is more useful in
>> trying to make
>> predictions.
>>
>> [I'm perhaps revealing myself to be a positivist
>> like Hawking rather  
>> than a
>> Platonist like Penrose. General Relativity doesn't
>> tell me the  
>> universe *is*
>> a 4-dimensional pseudo-Riemannian manifold, it just
>> tells me it can be
>> adequately modeled as one]
>> """
>>
>> Is this similar to what you are saying?
>>
>> James
>>
>>
>> On 21/12/2005, at 3:25 AM, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
>>
>>     
>>> On Dec 19, 2005, at 8:37 PM, Stephen D. Williams
>>>       
>> wrote:
>>     
>>>> I can't see that any of my operating principles /
>>>>         
>> thoughts are  
>>     
>>>> faith-based.  Operating logically and based on
>>>>         
>> scientific  
>>     
>>>> principles is not faith-based.  My philosophy is
>>>>         
>> not based on  
>>     
>>>> faith as far as I can see.
>>>>         
>>> Religion is explicitly axiomatic, science is
>>>       
>> explicitly non- 
>>     
>>> axiomatic.  Conflating the two betrays a
>>>       
>> misunderstanding of their  
>>     
>>> respective natures, and it is often difficult for
>>>       
>> axiom-philes to  
>>     
>>> imagine reasoning without axioms.  All that
>>>       
>> uncertainty puts weaker  
>>     
>>> minds into the fetal position.
>>>
>>> Only axiomatic systems can make claims to The
>>>       
>> Truth, assuming one  
>>     
>>> does not look too closely at the axioms.  The
>>>       
>> closest one gets to  
>>     
>>> "truth" in non-axiomatic systems is Kolmogorov's
>>>       
>> Razor, the context- 
>>     
>>> sensitive "best" hypothesis rather than the
>>>       
>> correct answer.
>>     
>>> All of which aggravates the situation out here in
>>>       
>> the real world  
>>     
>>> where people very frequently apply their (broken)
>>>       
>> intuition that  
>>     
>>> "rational" and "correct" are required to have a
>>>       
>> close correlation.
>>     
>>> J. Andrew Rogers
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>>>       
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>>
>>     
>
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